A child’s first and most important teacher is their parent. It is the parent who teaches the child throughout those early years in life. It is the parent who supports or monitors homework and concept development at home. Life long learning is what most of us do for a life time, help develop that love of learning at an early age. Holidays provide an ideal opportunity to encourage this attitude.
Here are a few suggestions to help parents keep children learning all summer and make education a part of holidays and trips.
- Let the child assist with the budget for the trip
- Estimate the miles or kilometers that will be traveled and how much gas will be needed
- Convert currency and or miles, kilometers, meters
- Work out percentage of tips for restaurant meals
- Compare sales taxes for different states, provinces or countries
- Practice multiplication tables in the car
- Select a criteria for counting, count all yellow cars or graph the color of car seen most.
- Practice skip counting (5,10, 15 or 2,4,6,8) etc.
- Make sure you bring maps with you to learn about the area
- Discuss the change in landscape, the patterns of roads.
- Find out about the various cultures
- Learn about the weather patterns and the season differences
Keep a diary or journal of the tripSet aside a few minutes of travel time for readingPractice sound/symbol correspondencePlay ‘stretch the sentance’ (Start with a short sentence: ‘I see a yellow car’, the child stretches it: ‘I see a rusty, yellow car’, the parent stretches it: ‘I see a fast, rusty, yellow car.’ The child stretches it: I see a fast, rusty, yellow car with a young driver’. Play rhyming word gamesPlay 20 questions (think of something and have participants ask 20 questions until they figure out what your thinking of) For example, let’s say you’ve decided on the word ‘book’. The child may say: does it roll, can you eat it, can you play with it etc. See how many questions it takes until the item is guessed
These are just a few suggestions to support learning ‘on the road’. Remember, you can also focus on nutrition and make sure you talk about food groups as you order in restaurants. While away, it’s also a good time for a child to start a collection of momentoes and write about them. They should also be encouraged to write letters to friends a family back home. Even if they don’t mail them, they can give them upon return. Behavior skills can also be supported, always address acceptable ettiquette. Have the child prioritize favorite happenings throughout the trip as they keep their trip diary/journal.
Students with learning difficulties should always have the opportunity to learn in incidental ways, it just takes a little creativity. Most of all, enjoy the trip!