Disney World is an amazing place full of all sorts of educational experiences. If you are wanting to turn a fun vacation into something that is also a learning experience, there are a plethora of ways to do so! Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Travel = Learning If your vacation to the happiest place on earth involves the car, young and old kids can have fun spotting license plates from other states and seeing who can “win” by finding the most first (or of all!). A fun way way to keep track is to make everyone a copy of the US map and then every time a license plate from a particular state is seen, everytime color in that state. If you have older kids, make it so that only the first that sees it gets it — it makes it more hard. For younger ones, have them all get to fill it in so no one gets discouraged! This keeps the kids buys, engaged and also makes them know where the states are. You can add more learning by having them track the route you are driving, especially if you cross states to get to Disney. (For even more crazy added learning, have the person have to find out the capitals of the state the find too — research!!!)
Epcot, Of Course! If you are planning a Disney trip, the easiest, most “must have” portion of the experience to couple with learning is to include a ticket to Epcot. This will guarantee fun while learning and experiencing other cultures, lifestyles, etc. all under the guise of Disney fun! But don’t stop there — learning can be found in something as simple as the Buzz Lightyear ride, where you can discuss how ultraviolet light and glow in the dark paint works, the engineering of their amazing rollercoasters and more. Do a bit of imaginative homework before and after the trip, and you will be amazed at the wide range of things you can learn on a family vacation.
Have Them Journal While no one wants to “work” on vacation, if you encourage your kids to journal while on their trip, they will be able to work in some writing and make an amazing keepsake as well. Buy them all disposable cameras that the film can actually be developed after the trip, along with any digital photos you want to take or allow them to take with their phones etc. Having the disposable camera you can even work in some learning about the way photography has evolved and how pictures are developed etc. And if you can get them to jot down their thoughts at the end of a great day, then when they return home, they can put all their pictures with their journals and have a great diary keepsake / album of their trip. If they are too tired to write after all the activities, a great alternative is to simply take a small handheld recording device or even videotape them talking for a few minutes on your phone, so that when they return, they can re-listen to what they said and journal from the video. This will eliminate anyone getting sad or anxious about being “made” to do something while on a trip — simply present it as fun and it will be! But the learning and memories will be invaluable.
Any vacation (and just about any daytrip) can be turned into a learning experience — don’t just make learning be inside four walls of a school. Let “school” be anywhere you are and your whole family will see that is what real learning is all about!
Ben Chambers writes about education. His best work can be found at bestmastersineducation.com.