It’s easy to assume that the often-quoted phrase ‘travel broadens the mind’ applies to adult travelers only. But the education of children, who soak up ideas, experiences and knowledge like sponges as they grow, can be greatly enhanced as a result of travel. Not only can travel improve your child’s learning by providing supplemental knowledge and real-world experience of subjects they are taught in school such as history and geography, travel also helps your child to learn life skills such as conversation, good manners and cultural understanding as they interact with people whose backgrounds and experiences differ from their own.
What sort of travel will improve a child’s learning?
In truth, any type of travel can provide beneficial learning experiences for a child although, for example, a two-week summer holiday that doesn’t venture far beyond the walls of a theme park is unlikely to provide the diversity of experiences and learning offered by a fortnight’s touring through the a foreign country’s landmarks and places of interest. The key to improving your child’s learning through travel is to ensure that learning experiences are also fun activities; exploring an ancient castle, for instance, is an enjoyable and exciting way for kids to learn the names of different parts of a castle (turret, moat, battlements, keep etc.) and to find out why castles were important in history. A day’s shopping in Calais or Paris can reinforce foreign language learning as children recognize French words that they have learnt in school and can see them used in a real-life context.
Travel will help your child’s understanding of race, culture and tolerance
In the opinion of American author Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Travelling overseas with your child is an excellent way for them to learn not only about new countries but also the people that inhabit them. Improving your child’s learning and understanding of different races and cultures is a fundamental part of the development of a well-rounded and tolerant individual. If the practicalities and expense of travelling to different countries with you children is a potential obstacle – many children dislike or become distressed by the prospect of flying, for example – taking a child-friendly cruise provides an excellent means to improve your child’s learning through travel. Even a short European cruise is an exciting and educational prospect, giving children the opportunity to briefly explore and learn about several new countries in a short space of time without them becoming bored.
If a short child-friendly cruise proves to be a hit, this opens the way to more extensive travels with your child to further-flung parts of the world such as Asia, South America and the Caribbean. Child-friendly cruises are an excellent way to combine the pleasures of a holiday with learning through travel; there is greater freedom to engage and stimulate a child’s mind onboard a cruise liner than there is on a long-haul flight. Kids can meet and interact with other kids their own age via onboard clubs and activities whilst learning and developing new social skills. And, of course, a child-friendly cruise potentially enables a child to learn about many different countries, customs and cultures in a single trip.
Improving your child’s learning through travel is an effort well-rewarded
Whether you travel with your child to a new town just a few miles down the road, take them on a camping trip to the next nearest country or go on an adventure to the far side of the world, you are providing your child with an invaluable learning experience. Travel promotes understanding, tolerance, comprehension and imagination; it can enhance a child’s use of their own language by being better able to describe the sights they’ve seen and the experiences they’ve had whilst travelling and it can provide the real-life context that reinforces the learning of a foreign language. Enabling children to be bitten by the travelling bug at an early age can open the door to a lifetime of learning about, and better interaction with, the world in which they live.
Amy Sawyer is a freelance writer for Royal Caribbean Cruises who offer a wide choice of child friendly cruises across the world.