‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.’
And so, to turn our kids into avid readers we must travel, travel, travel!
Kids learn so much in trips, as they are exposed to many experiences simultaneously. They learn about a new country, its cultural aspects, landscape, weather, family bonding, group decisions and so much more. A U.S. Department of Education Study found that kids who travel did better in reading, math and general knowledge than their peers who didn’t travel. Travel is a valuable part of a child’s education that “contributes to cognitive growth and stimulates a child’s sense of wonderment,” says Dr. William Norman, associate professor in parks, recreation, and tourism management at Clemson University in South Carolina. “Providing kids with the experience of travel broadens their horizons and opens up their minds to learning,” he says.
I consider myself a travel evangelist and can’t think of enough benefits for kids from travel. Here are some of them from my personal experiences:
#1. I am not that important
For today’s kids especially those who are the apple of the parents’ eyes, this is most relevant. Travelling and seeing the life others lead puts into perspective that getting that new dress wasn’t all that mattered! In the lap of nature, while breathing the crisp mountain air or looking out at the vast ocean would always make me think, as a kid, that I definitely wasn’t the centre of the universe (pun intended)
#2. Research is fun
In the pre-internet days, we spent weeks researching places through books, making detailed notes and opening up the humongous atlas during our family voting sessions, as to where to go! I think that was part of what made every trip for us so exciting, knowing just enough to get us interested, yet still recognizing that we wouldn’t really know what it was like until we stepped off that plane and saw everything with our own eyes.
#3. Strengthening family ties
My mom was very energetic on trips. She believed in immersive travelling and would point out flora, fauna, local customs and the most random things to us. This made us build stronger bonds as we didn’t have to worry about the daily chores or homework with her! Long road trips were never my number one choice, but I do have some fond memories of sharing inside jokes with my brother on them. Travel brings out the best in you.
#4. Befriend the situation
I remember so many bad situations on trips, but as kids we learned to embrace them and move on. Whether it was the gigantic iguana at my door in Langkawi , fuelling my herpetophobia or spending the night in the almost-non-maintained hotel on a religious trip. Sometimes you even find humour in these situations.
#5. Combat “boredom”
On trips there would be no time to spare taking in all the sights and smells but if there was the odd hour where there was nothing to do, I wouldn’t run to my mom (Mom, I am bored!). Instead, I started taking to sketching or even counting tiles! You become more self-reliant and respect everyone’s space.
Additionally, kids receive a worldly education in context, the socialization skills equates to experiential learning; they learn to see similarities instead of looking for differences and start practicing tolerance.
For adults, travel does offer new sights, sounds, flavors, and experiences, but sometimes we become desensitized to these sensations. However, our children allow us to see the world freshly through their eyes and allow us to experience the world through a renewed child-like perspective. I hope to never lose sight of this quality inside of me ever again, and continue to travel with my son. (Thank you Arsh.)
About The Author
Prachi Kagzi is a travel evangelist and mother of a three year old. After being in the corporate world for over 8 years has decided to follow her passion for kids and travel. She has founded ‘Little Passports’ a novel concept in the kids’ educational travel space in India. They organize educative travel tours for kids aged between 3 and 15. The trips are age appropriate and the child if not independent, he/she will be accompanied by the parent. Their upcoming tour is in December: The Slovakia Winter Tour will be to acquire a winter sport skill (ski/snowboard) and other medium level winter activities ( husky dog sledge, snow shoe hike, build a igloo etc. for 7 year olds and upwards.