Travel is an education.
Traveling is a way to expose children to different things that are outside of their everyday experiences. Travel is educational because as children see these new things, they are learning new cultures, new words, new ways of doing things and new ways of looking at the world.
Travel has a lasting impact on education because when children experience things hands on, they are better able to remember the things they have learned, and to really connect with those experiences. The education gained from travel is monumental. But travel can sometimes seem restrictive because of cost and time factors.
What does travel mean?
Is travel only for the wealthy? Absolutely not! While there are definitely ways to travel on a budget, we can broaden our idea of what travel really means. Traveling isn’t a certain number of miles, and it doesn’t only count if you fly on an airplane. Travel means getting outside of the day-to-day and letting children experience something new. In classroom settings, this is most often accomplished with field trips, which are often the most memorable days children have in school. In families, travel can be accomplished by getting into the car and seeing something new.
Ways to travel without going too far
The benefits of travel can be felt without ever getting on a plane. Here are some ideas to experience these benefits with children you care about.
Homeless Shelter/ Soup Kitchen- Reach out in your community to help! Seeing how people struggle will instill gratitude in children for all that they have. Additionally, they will understand another way of life that is much different from their own.
City/ Farm/ Suburb- Generally, we don’t have to drive too far to see a completely different way of life. Live in the city? Take a drive out to the farms and buy some local produce? Used to the suburbs? Go downtown and look at the busy-ness of city life. Children will sense a different pace, see different architecture, and notice different styles of clothing. What else is different? What is the same?
Cultural Area- Many cultures have built cultures within a city, such as Chinatown and Little Tokyo’s. Are there areas like these that are within driving distance? This can be a great way to expose children to other cultures without going far.
Cultural Event- Watching traditional dances from another culture, or participating in heritage events can open children’s eyes to another world.
Try a new restaurant- Try a restaurant from another culture-the more authentic, the better! Talk to the owner, and find out about their culture. What food is traditional? How do people eat in this culture?
Visit a Historical Site- Learning about the history of the place where you live can give children an appreciation for those who settled the area. It can be fun to imagine a place before there were buildings or cars. What were the people like who came here before? Why did they come?
Learn a new language- One of the best ways to “travel” at home is to learn a new language! When you learn to speak another language, you can communicate with people from another place and truly learn more about them and their culture.
Travel is available to all of us.
The educational benefits to children are huge, and as we use opportunities for local travel, all children can have amazing opportunities for growth and development. Whether you travel far or not so far, all children (and adults) can experience the benefits of travel. Explore the place where you live and you will find that you are traveling the world!