Travel Lessons Reinforced

You spend months planning for an epic trip.  You and your kids spend the break itself exploring a bounty of subjects, learning new cultures, new lands, new ideas.  Then you come home and never think about it again.

Wait, what?  No, no, no.

You want your kids to REMEMBER your trip and all the great things they learned, right?

Of course!

Here are a few fun ways your kids can relive, retell and retain their experiences from your great family adventures.

1.  Create a Hat-itat.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “Habitat” as:  “The natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism.”

A “Hat”, of course, is: “A shaped covering for the head worn for warmth, as a fashion item, or as part of a uniform.”

A “Hat-itat” combines these two things in a fun way enabling your child to remember the environment you recently visited.

Costa Rican rain forest hat-itat Little B created for a school project.

Costa Rican rain forest hat-itat Little B created for a school project.

Using any sort of hat as a base (I’d recommend one with a rim of some sort), photos, pictures from travel magazines or brochures, and any other material your child can imagine, replicate the natural habitat you visited including land forms, water features, plants and animals found in the natural environment.  This could be a desert, rain forest, rocky mountains or cliffs, coral reef, wetland, grassland, busy city center, or whatever other environment she wants to recreate.

Hat-itat of a Costa Rican rain forest complete with water falls, rain falling from clouds above the trees, monkeys, tree frogs living in/on the trees and whales and fish in the surrounding ocean.

Hat-itat of a Costa Rican rain forest complete with water falls, rain falling from clouds above the trees, monkeys, tree frogs living in/on the trees and whales and fish in the surrounding ocean.

2. Write an exciting S.O.S. story with illustration.

Illustration of Little B's SOS story about a black bear encounter with mom and her twin brother.

Illustration accompanying Little B’s SOS story about a black bear encounter with mom and her twin brother.

Whether your adventures presented a close encounter with a wild animal, a fall out of a white water raft, a missed flight or lost toy, I’m sure your trip involved at least one exciting moment!  Have your child retell the experience in her own words.  Either you write as your child dictates or she can write it out herself.  Encourage her to use vivid expressions and dramatic details to make the story colorful, allowing the reader to feel the excitement!  Complete the story with an illustration of the event.

3. Write or draw in a travel journal during your trip.

The time-honored travel journal never fails.  Buy your child an inexpensive notebook prior to your trip (or go for the premium classic leather journal) and encourage her to write or draw something each day.  She could record details such as sites visited, the weather, people she met, how she felt, fun facts learned, funny sayings or quotes, or anything else she wants to record.

4. Document destinations on a map.

Star stickers placed over destinations on map Little B and the Boy have visited.

Star stickers placed over destinations on map Little B and the Boy have visited.

Grab a map of the United States, the state you live in, the country or state your traveled to, or the world, and have your child place a sticker on all the places she’s been.  Each time you take a trip, she gets to place another sticker.  It will be fun to look back on how far or close she’s ventured as she discovers more about the world she lives in.  She could also use a different color or type of sticker to mark where she would like to visit in the future.  Maybe one day she’ll get the opportunity to mark it with a “Been There!” sticker!

5. Start a collection.

Encourage your child to collect something small everywhere she goes.  The collection could span just one trip or multiple trips.  Examples include rocks, shells, ticket stubs, post cards, pressed flowers (pressed between pages in book ideally protected with wax paper), or Christmas tree ornaments.  Be mindful that whatever your child is collecting you are not violating any import restrictions if traveling abroad or any environmental concerns.

6.  Prepare a photo essay or slide show.

Allow your child to look through all your photos, or her own if she has her own camera, when you return home, print and create a slide show or photo essay of what she saw.  Her project may have a theme, such as funny faces or moments, buildings/architecture, bright colors, flowers and animals, or it may be a simple assemblage of favorite photos.  Place photos in a photo album, on a poster board or in a digital presentation.

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