So, you’ve had an amazing adventure but what next? How to squeeze the most of it? How to take learning even further? With the following example activities you will be able to offer your children further contexts to explore certain topics on a daily basis no matter whether you are traveling or not.
…history, geography, science, biology, numeracy, literacy, communication, creativity, construction, reasoning, arts & crafts, ecology, technology, safety, culture…
A historic city trip, local museum visit or even a day spent on the beach can inspire you children to pretend they are pirates, medieval knights, princesses, famous kings or scientists etc. They will try to imitate the real world, people, animals or they may want to use objects they have seen being used by others. This is a perfect opportunity for parents to smuggle some extra knowledge about famous people, places, events, historical facts, offer some inspiring resources such as clothing, fabrics, tools, construction materials…
Encouraging your kids to design, plan, construct from variety of resources (wood, stones, pebbles, sticks, plastic blocks, sand, fabrics etc.) helps them discover the properties of materials. Your kids may want to build tree houses, hideaways from fabrics or wooden planks, modern vehicles, defense towers, fantasy kingdoms. They can be inspired with pyramids you have all seen, medieval towns, animal nests, bridges that you have crossed, people’s lifestyles and use their observations of the world to integrate them into play.
Children can use their imagination to write or tell stories filled with facts or fiction, resembling modern times or the past. The stories can be filled with details, events, historical facts, names, people that inspired your children when you were traveling. Children can create dynamic characters for their stories deciding where, when they live, what kind of lifestyle they lead. You may turn this activity into a family story telling where all family members add their own details. Your children will learn more as you gently guide them towards certain solutions, smuggle knowledge or challenge them to solve problems.
Arts & Crafts
Children can explore their fascinations through various arts & crafts projects. They may want to imitate what they have seen using specific tools or try new techniques. Such activities may reflect local culture, architecture or natural environment, may help children understand local customs, festivals but also their own emotions. Through arts & crafts children can also explore science by experimenting with substances such as clay, plaster, paint, sand, observe how they change from liquid to solid, how they mix and how they can be affected by sun, air, water etc.
Photography & Movie making
By allowing children to take pictures or make movies we help them discover what really fascinates them. They pay more attention to the surrounding world, become more sensitive to individual differences, start notice details about people, places, objects. One day they may spot a tiny inscription on the wall of the castle you have just visited, other times it may be a colorful insect or a fisherman who has just caught an octopus. Such memories can later become an excellent source for discussions on lifestyles, history, geography, science, or emotions and feeling.
Mixing ingredients, putting things together just to see what happens is an excellent way to explore science. Maybe you have just visited a coffee plantation and after coming back to the hotel your kids want to play for a while with coffee grains smashing them just to see what is inside. Then, they will want to mix it with water, sand or whatever is at hand to check if they change their color. Such free creative experiments offer a meaningful context for learning based on children’s own experiences.
Books & Movies
If you have just visited a volcanic area and your kids simply cannot stop talking about it then take them to a local library to borrow some books or movies on the subject. Even if you don’t know the local language books full of colorful pictures may often be enough to learn more about the place you have seen, its history, origin etc. Finding documentaries and watching them together will be an excellent opportunity to gather more information on the topic your kids are interested in. Visiting ancient ruins and then seeing them in a movie makes the whole experience more personal, magical and meaningful.
Local people are always the best source of information. If you need to know more about the history of the place you are visiting, its traditions, customs, food, animals, culture or language talk to locals. You can do this by visiting small local shops, libraries, exhibitions, participating in local festivities, cooking together etc. Usually locals are happy to share their knowledge and experience. When on the Greek Islands don’t forget to ask about popular Greek myths and legends! Local people will tell you more than you can imagine and your kids will be fascinated to hear stories from a local storyteller – legends that the whole world knows mostly from the books.
Music & Movement
Children love expressing themselves through their bodies. Whether it is imitating dance movements they have seen during flamenco show in Spain, pretending to be a skillful martial artists they have admired in Indonesia or moving like a snake they have seen in the rainforest, this all helps children understand others and themselves better. There is plenty opportunities for parents to take it further by asking guided questions such as ” Why do you think snakes don’t need legs to move?” or” Would you like to find out what happened 100 year ago at the temple we visited today”?