With the holiday season upon us, most of us are busy packing our travel bags. Travelling is one of the best times to bond with family, besides enthusing relaxation and revelry, travel is great learning experience for children and adults. According to various studies, well-travelled children are likely to be more confident, more adventurous, more flexible and likely to score better grades than their less travelled counterparts. Every vacation irrespective of the distance travelled or expenses incurred can teach children innumerable things beyond their school curricula. We have listed eight of them:
1. Involve children
Involve your children in planning the trip, choosing transport and hotel stay, work on budgeting and expenditure on local visits, shopping etc.
2. Teach them to observe the world around them
While on the journey, encourage them to observe the fields and farms, the nature of soil, vegetation and crops grown – how the cotton pod looks, or the paddy looks before its available as rice in the market, phases and types of farming – contour and strip cropping, techniques applied – tractor vs using bulls for plough, canal vs drip irrigation etc.
3. Guide them to appreciate geographical and climatic differences
Help your kids to observe the climatic and geographic differences or similarities compared to the city/town they live in, the topography of a hill station versus coastal area versus plains and plateaus, the influence on construction of the houses, the clothing and food consumption of the people.
4. Provide real life exposure to history and culture
When in the city, visit places of historical and contemporary significance. Narrate the influence of history on the culture, the language and dialect. Visit the museums, factories and places of importance, take pictures, print them and get children to make an album or scrapbook with those photos.
5. Teach them to appreciate local food
Consume local food instead of choosing fast food and outlets of chain restaurants present in your city. Relish on the local flavours and cuisine of the place, enquire and explain how a certain dish is cooked, its nutritional value and its local significance.
6. Visit local markets
Trip to the local markets is also a knowledge expedition; explain to kids what goods are unique to that place and popular among tourists, purchase some samples to take home and some to distribute to friends and relatives the home town.
7. Remain calm if plans go awry
When things do not go as planned or mishaps occur, instead of exhibiting anxiety, keep your cool and demonstrate patience and problem solving, this will inculcate the spirit to deal unpleasant situations with confidence and calmness.
8. Try to include extended family
Travelling with extended family is also fun. Having grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins on a vacation teaches children to bond and know them better. Children observe how adults cooperate and distribute responsibilities; they learn to be more accommodating and flexible, offer to share their stuff and help in little ways they can.