Brumberg, Bruce, and Axelrod, Karen. Watch It Made in the U.S.A. (Avalon Travel, 2006, fourth edition)
Perry, Susan K. Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Enriching, Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4-14. (Free Spirit Press, 2001 — available via her website)
By GreatSchools Staff
Are you headed off to Grandma's in Idaho, taking in museums and culture in New York, sailing to an exotic island or going camping close to home this summer? Whatever your family vacation, don't forget to include educational opportunities and teachable moments as part of your plan.
"Non-school times are wonderful for showing your child that learning happens anywhere and everywhere, and is, in fact, an integral part of life that can be fun, and can be shared," says Susan Perry, a Los Angeles–based social psychologist and author of Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Offbeat, Enriching Learning Activities for Ages 4-14. "Don't over-structure the learning, rather let it happen naturally. And be assured, it will happen if you expose your child to new sights and new experiences."
Here are some simple ways to include education in your summer vacation:
Enlist the services of your junior travel agent.
Why not include your child as your junior travel agent in the trip planning? He can learn how to compare costs of airplane flights or rental car companies and do research about the places you plan to visit on the Internet or in books at the library. Teach him how to use a map to find cities and tourist attractions in the places you plan to visit. If you are traveling out of state, look up information about the state, such as the state flower, state bird and interesting attractions. Have your child write to the state tourism bureau to ask for information.
Make reading part of your vacation.
Reading helps to prepare your child for the trip and to pass the time while on board and when waiting for trains and airplanes. Are you going to Idaho, Pennsylvania or a foreign country? Go to the library or your favorite bookstore to find a tour book, and read a story or novel that takes place in the spot you plan to visit. If you are going to a foreign country, start to learn common phrases in that country's language.
Get out the maps and globes.
Work with your child to locate where you are going on a map or globe. Measure the distance between traveling points in inches and then translate into miles.
Incorporate what they've learned and what they will learn.
Did your child study the Civil War or the American Revolution last year? What will she be studying next year? Try to incorporate visits to the battlefields of Gettysburg, the Freedom Trail in Boston or other places she's studied or will study in your vacation plan.
Learn how things are made.
Wherever you are traveling to, seek out factories that have tours so children can learn how things are made. For example, in San Francisco, you can visit a teddy bear factory; in Arkansas, a glass blowing studio; and in Hawaii, a macadamia nut factory. For more ideas of places to visit where things are made around the country, check out Watch It Made in the U.S.A. by Bruce Brumberg and Karen Axelrod (Avalon Travel, 2006).
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.