We all know travel can be relaxing and fun. But as parents one of the most important things about travel is that it helps our children learn and grow. And that doesn’t just happen once we’re arrived at the destination. Making the journey fun, interesting and even — gasp! — educational is a huge win for mum and dad. At our #LoveLearning Twitter chat with parents, we discovered their best tips and favourite activities for helping children learn & grow while travelling. Read on for their best advice!
The chat was sponsored by Learning Resources, whose mission is to help kids love to learn. Their toys emphasise understanding, they build educational skills and they empower children to take on the world! Their award-winning toys include Botley the coding robot for kids, Play Foam pals, GeoSafari Jr Explorer Scope, a Sand & Water Fine Motor Tool Set.
The importance for parents of learning while travelling
We have several staycations booked this year and are always looking for fun ways to keep the kids entertained. @MummaJem
We love being able to show our son new things on holiday that he wouldn’t see at home, to broaden his horizons. When he’s a bit older I definitely feel that games in the car that use the brain, like eye spy or the numberplate game will be so much better than an iPad! @Chicken_1983
We are just back from a road trip and love to play “I Spy” with our little one. He’s only 4 so right now we say “I spy with my little eye something the colour…” but hopefully when he’s better with his letters we can start to use them! @KirstyConnor7
Games kids can play (and parents love)
My girl is still too young but I think I’ll play the games that I used to play when I was young – finding things that look like monsters etc! Eg hay bales @mellondavina
Lucas loves spotting road signs. He also loves going past county signs as we can then talk about the new towns/cities we might see! @angep1969
We find that taking flash cards and matching cards out with us on long car journeys is a great way to keep our son entertained but also very educational for him. Another bonus is that they’re small so very easy to pack too! @Summerfun110
Magnetic travel games are fantastic for long journeys. Small enough to easily be enjoyed in a car or on a plane, and being magnetic there’s no lost piece trauma! @emilyh13
I love to teach the kids things about sea life when we’re at the beach. We’ve learned abouut crabs, seaweed and shells. The kids love collecting and learning about shells @katieskatie82
Children need constant educational stimulation. Whenever we travel my kids love to play I-spy or counting games like how many birds can you see in the sky @KirstyT25
The ways kids learn on holiday
Bug view jars! @tazarazamuffin
Here at Fuelled By Latte we are massive fans of STEM toys and outdoor learning. We take these #GeosafariJrKidnocularsExtreme whenever we go out as a family for the day as they help the kids get closer to nature #LoveLearning @BritMums @LRUK pic.twitter.com/WGqFX4vh83
— Fuelled by Latte (@fuelledbylatte) July 5, 2019
Stick a magnifying glass in your holiday bag so children can explore the world around them in a new location. Look at the patterns, line and colours in nature @fuelledbylatte
— Lauren (@LaurenRW86) July 5, 2019
— Sian Williams (@SianW86) July 5, 2019
Great idea for an easy #STEM activity with pre-schoolers when on holiday – get a set of @LRUK tweezers and backyard bugs for some nature detective work/fine motor skills @fuelledbylatte #fitsinyourhandbag
(Here’s the toy Fuelled by Latte was talking about: A magnifier & tweezer set.)
We love that Learning Resources has toys that encourage kids to explore their worlds: check out this Measure Mate which will have them sizing up everything the garden! https://t.co/3MqdmW3B9x #ad #LoveLearning pic.twitter.com/iAr1nOjHyO
— BritMums (@BritMums) July 5, 2019
Activities to do at the beach (or by the water)
Counting the fish at the port and learning about water safety on holiday…also discussing the boats using size language “big, bigger, biggest, tall, taller, wide, wider, small, smallest” #lovelearning @LRUK @britmums pic.twitter.com/ycbGJB1GQt
— Sarah – Arthurwears (@arthurwears) July 5, 2019
My parents used to give us a list of ten things to find or see on a ‘beach hunt’ – this included anything such as a smooth pebble, a yellow shell, a big wave, a funny cloud, etc – it kept us entertained for ages and taught us colours and shapes etc. @SianW86
Lovely idea! My two have a “sand bottle”. Every beach we go to they bring home a little bit of sand in a tub. They then funnel it into the bottle to create a new “layer” its amazing to see the different colours and textures of sand in the bottle! @Tantrums2Smiles
— Lauren (@LaurenRW86) July 5, 2019
We love rock pooling! It’s great fun but educational too, learning about different creatures and their habitats along with tide times etc @EmmaLouiseStar
Shells and the beach are the best place for outside free play and learning no matter the weather @wandermustfam
— Claire Plumb (@ssunflowersgirl) July 5, 2019
10 great car games for kids of all ages
Or to take on the train, plane or coach for that matter!
- AlphaBee (ages 2-5) — A portable learning set with 40 letters, numbers and shape tiles to get them learning the alphabet & counting. It’s just a bonus that it comes in a cute bee-shaped case with a handle so they can carry it themselves.
- Playfoam Go (ages 3-7) — A travel set in a handy box of the smushable foam that sticks to itself to make 3-D shapes but doesn’t stick to hands, hair, clothes or upholstery!
- Playfoam Shape & Learn Alphabet Set (ages 3-7) — This kit uses fun playfoam and letter cards to help children improve literacy skills — they form the letter shapes out of the fun, tactile playfoam.
- Hot Dots Let’s Learn Jolly Phonics Set (ages 3-7) — Multiple choice questions that they answer then check themselves using a talking pen? C’mon do we even need to say why this one is fun?
- Trace & Learn Writing Activity Set (ages 3-10) — Children learn to trace and draw using activity cards, working on fine motor skills and pencil grip. Dry-erase format means mess is kept to a minimum!
- STEMS (ages 5-99) — To help them with STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and maths) this construction toy with brightly coloured interlocking pieces gets kids building and exploring 3-D geometry. This kit comes with 20 pieces in a handy storage tub
- Minute Math Electronic Flash Card (ages 6-99) — It’s an electronic handheld game that encourages fast response to maths problems: adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
- Blurt Vocabulary Game (ages 7-12) — Quick, what’s the word for a dried-up grape? This rapid word recall game for 3 or more players will make the journey whiz by as fast as your children can blurt out the answers.
- Math Trekker (ages 8-12) — A handheld game to test their fast maths recall in quickfire rounds. This portable maths game clips onto fleece zips or belt loops to keep it handy.
- Kanoodle Duplexity (ages 8-12) — A box of 200, single-player logic puzzles using magnetic pieces that they work through, advancing through the games as they go
- 5 great learning toys to take on holiday
Special thanks to @MummaJem and her picture of her boys used at the top of this piece and on the home page!
Get more great advice to helping your child learn and grow in our Family & Relationships section on BritMums!