Traveling with your kids is an amazing opportunity to share experiences and learn more about the world together. When you’re doing something new, just about everything is a learning opportunity. But, there are also a number of museums and parks that make an educational vacation truly enjoyable for kids.
Some kids may be on the fence if they hear you’ll be visiting museums and memorials on vacation. But these are some of the most impactful experiences that stay with kids for years. Here are a few ways to get your kids excited before you go:
Let Them Help Plan The Vacation
Invite your kids to help you plan the family vacation. Check out sights, attractions and hotels together and take their input seriously. You can even plan a kid day where they pick the agenda. Just don’t be surprised if they pick things like staying overnight at a museum (for example, one of the Smithsonian Sleepovers at the National Museum of Natural History1).
This is a great way to get them invested, and it’s also a covert way to teach them project management skills!
Check Out Related Materials Online
There’s no better way to get psyched about a vacation than checking out the spots you plan to visit online. Many educational attractions have a wealth of information online, including videos and images.
For instance, if you plan to visit Washington, D.C., check out the Raab Collection website to get a peek at the types of historical artifacts you’ll see. Their experts have helped the Library of Congress locate historical documents that are now on display.
Get Them A Journal
Journals are a great way to chronicle a trip as it’s happening, and they can also be used beforehand to capture thoughts about what kids hope to see and do. Personalize it with their name or spring for a travel-inspired leather bound journal. All in all, journals are great keepsakes that you’ll hold on to forever.
Go Shopping For Travel Gear
There’s a good chance you’ll have to pick up supplies for the vacation, so bring your kids along. Let them pick out their own gear and a few fun extras.
If you’re visiting a state park or botanical gardens, outfit your kids with magnifying glasses, their own water bottle and an insect identification booklet. A backpack is another piece of gear that will be helpful everywhere you go during the trip.
Get a Taste for the Cuisine
One of the unique things about a culture is food. Within the U.S. alone you’ll find so many regional dishes there’s no way you’d ever get around to trying them all.
Search for a local restaurant that serves cuisine that’s authentic to where you’ll be going. For instance, if you were taking a trip to Bangkok2, visit a Thai restaurant with an array of curries a few times before leaving. This is an especially good idea if you follow a special diet.
Take A Few Hiking Trips To Get In Shape
One thing that is a guarantee whether you’re going to the Grand Canyon or Disney World is that you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Prepare for the increase in physical activity by taking a few family hikes. It’s a fun way to get some exercise and test out your gear.
Test Out Your Camping Gear
If you’re taking a trip where you’ll be camping, test out the tent in the backyard. Kids love a good campout no matter where it is. This will also give you an opportunity to troubleshoot everything so there are no surprises when you’re out in the wilderness.
Once you get to your destination, give yourself, at least, a full day or two to do nothing more than exploring the city. You’ll be amazed at how much the entire family learns about the local history and culture just by walking around.