Travel Tuesday: Journey of Discovery: Go Big on Culture and History on a Family Vacation

Guest Post by Jenny Griffiths

Kids grow excited at the thought of a vacation. They are thinking beaches, amusement parks, and breaks from school and the normal routine. However, you know that there is plenty of opportunity for your child to learn on this upcoming jaunt. Therefore, you need to encourage them to learn about culture and history.

Bribe Them

It’s not the best way to get kids to love to learn, yet a bit of bribery can create the spark needed. Perhaps your child would like an extended curfew, a smartphone, etc. Give them the incentive to learn by striking a deal with them.

Read-Up on the Destination

Kids are more likely to learn if interest is kindled before a trip. Perhaps you want them to read a fictional tale that uses the vacation as a backdrop to the story. Or, be more overt and encourage your child to read encyclopedia excerpts and memorize facts. Furthermore, ask friendly staff members about great kid destinations near the Protea Hotel by Marriott.

Choose the Right Time

If your child is still wound-up from the amusement park or waterslides, it will be difficult to get them to calm down and focus on scholastics. Choose the right time to direct their attention to culture and history. You could either make time or use creativity to steer their attention to something more educational when the time is right.

Think Like a Kid

If you were a kid, what would motivate you to learn? What types of facts and places would stimulate you to learn further? Think like a kid rather than an adult when targeting places of learning. Remember that kids like doing things versus standing in place and having facts orated to them.

Make It Fun

Education can be fun and even a bit silly. Think of clever ways that Sesame Street and other kids programming uses voices and outrageous visuals to captivate attention yet get kids to learn. It’s a kind of bait and switch that is effective. As long as kids are having fun, they won’t discriminate against what they’re doing or learning in the process.

Compliment Your Child

Who doesn’t like positive reinforcement? Kids respond to positivity and it’s important to compliment them as they begin to form their ego and self-confidence. You don’t want to congratulate them for doing a lazy job of learning, however, so be stern while looking for an opportunity to identify growth in their learning progress.

Set Goals

Perhaps you want them to know all of the state capitals. Maybe you want them to know ten new facts about South Africa they didn’t know before. Set goals for your child. It doesn’t need to be structured as if you’ll be giving them a final exam, but it’s important to allow the child to review and realize what they learned.

Involve an Extracurricular Activity

Perhaps you want your child to learn how they can figure the total area of a football field or how many seats can fit in a soccer stadium. You could come to a conclusion by researching the facility online but it would be a lot more fun to solve the problem while sitting on the field or in the stadium.

All of the suggestions above involve interacting with children in a way that involves them and gives them the opportunity to be part of the decision making process. There is no point just forging ahead with travel plans that do not include them. If they feel they were part of the process, part of the planning, part of the discovery, then they will be more likely to take responsibility for their decisions and take an interest in all the things they discover along the way. For best results, make the vacation ‘theirs’ just as much as it is ‘yours’.

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