Taking a road trip as a family can be loads of fun! Yes, you will have the pit stops for bathroom breaks, children fighting over tablets, forced uncomfortable sleep positions, highway construction, and plenty of other bothersome road trip occurrences. But what’s a family trip without those things?
Having a great traveling experience with the kiddos only takes a little planning.
Ask these questions prior to leaving:
- What’s the purpose of the trip?
- What can we do that is age appropriate for my children?
- Is this an educational trip, leisure, or both?
Make a Plan
My family and I recently went on a road trip to Indiana, the state just west of us. We visited a few local attractions. While making the plans for our trip, I looked at the calendar and exhibit list for each attraction we planned to visit. I asked myself, “What most excites my toddlers? Which topics do I need assistance in teaching?” My daughters have recently taken an interest in outer space, particularly the moon. Whether we are in our backyard, driving in the car, or looking out of their bedroom window, they look for the location of the moon. Since we planned on visiting the children’s museum, visiting the planetarium in that museum was a must!
Our hotel’s swimming pool was located on a floor that overlooked the city. I badly wanted there to be tons of visible stars in the night sky to help reinforce the concepts that were introduced to us at the museum, but we were out of luck.
Choose Your Tools
Thanks to Educents, I knew that we would soon return home and could continue discussing outer space, reinforcing what my daughters saw at the planetarium. I was able to find a useful downloadable packet on astronomy. This Spectacular Space Complete Teaching Unit offers astronomy-related lessons, experiments and activities for students of several levels. I was able to use a couple of the exercises to create a 30-minute lesson. The packet is so thorough, I will be able to use for a while.
Here are the exercises I used as learning tools:
The mini-book provided one sentence on each page that discussed, at an elementary level, astronomy. It also included a writing prompt at the end of the book to encourage my toddlers to think about what we learned.
The main concept my daughters enjoyed learning was gravity. They remembered from the planetarium show that gravity made characters “float.” I asked them to demonstrate what they remembered, and they had no problem having fun with that!
Tips to Engage in Learning During Your Travels
- Think about lessons you have recently taught or topics in which your children have taken an interest. Narrow them down to one or two topics.
- Read books on the topic or allow the kids to do independent reading while en route to your destination.
- Bring those topics to life by finding attractions that are on the way to or in the same area as your vacation destination that are focused on or have cool exhibits related to the topic. Plan a visit!
- A great way to teach a child or student is allowing them to experience the topic. Explore all the hands-on activities the attraction offers.
- Ask your child questions about the topic before, during and after the visit.
- See if an employee of the attraction or locals can offer any fun facts.
- There is always an opportunity to learn. Educational moments can be created anywhere! Be creative!
About the All-Star Blogger
Teri Watters is a married stay-at-home mom who regularly blogs at MommyWifeLife.com. She believes in keeping family at the center and is enjoying her new role as a homeschooling momma. Her ideal perfect day ends with her feet up, a big bowl of stove-popped popcorn and a tall glass of ice water with lemon.