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Teaching Your Kids Math, Social Studies, and English Skills Through Vacation Planning

by The Mom Trotter

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Whether it’s fall, summer, spring or winter, taking the time to plan your family vacation with your kids is very important. Even if you aren’t taking a big vacation this year, you can help your kids learn about Math, Social Studies, and English skills with a vacation planning project that won’t feel like school work at all.

As a family, you can plan a vacation or a trip to your dream excursion. I loved trying out this plan a vacation project with my son. Since we travel full-time, it really helped plan our real-life vacations.

Here are some ways you can teach a variety of skills to your kids through a vacation planning project.

Find a Vacation Destination

Barcelona, Spain

To begin your vacation planning project, you’ll want your kids to find the ideal destination. If you will actually be taking this vacation, you may want to set some parameters, such as distance. On the other hand, if your vacation planning project is all about imagining their dream vacation, let them explore.

For example, since we love traveling in our RV, we may think about places we can drive to rather than fly for this vacation planning project. Start by having your kids come up with a list of places they would like to visit. This brainstorming activity helps teach pre-writing English skills. In addition, you’ll be able to add a research component.

After your kids choose a few favorite places, have them pick one or two to research. Use this time to talk about finding reliable sites. Looking at informational sites from Chambers of Commerce or city run sites will give them a better idea than a travel agent.

You can also have them check out the local newspapers online for the cities. TripAdvisor is also a great site to visit for popular tourist attractions in states, cities, and countries. This English meets Social Studies connection is perfect for your vacation planning project.

Create a Vacation Budget

Click to purchase the Everything About Money Book for your kids

Once a destination is chosen, your children will need to come up with a budget. If it’s an actual vacation, you may give your kids a budget to plan for one or more aspects like lodging, travel, entertainment, or food. Of course, you’ll remind them that you have the final decision!

I’ve noticed when I let my kids play a part in the budget, they’re often more frugal than I would be! Not only does this activity help with Math skills, your kids will also need to do a bit of research. They’ll look for plane tickets or gas prices, places to stay, costs of leisure and entertainment, and food prices.

For us, that often means the cost of gas in the RV or places to park in addition to the fun stuff we’ll do and the good food we’ll consume! If you want to add a tech component, you can have your kids explore using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel to create a budget and calculate expenses.

Another benefit of having a budget component in your plan a vacation project is that your children will realize how much a vacation really costs! This vacation planning project has the added perk of having your kids be grateful for what they have and what you do!

Make a Vacation Planning Project Itinerary

Now that your kids have the destination and budget down, the real vacation planning project begins! It’s time to make the schedule or itinerary. If you have more than one child, consider giving each kid a must-do for the itinerary.

Within the allotted budget, they can decide one major thing that they really want to do on vacation. For example, when we went to Orlando, my older kids were all about the Kennedy Space Center while the younger ones discovered the Great Magic Hall.

Your kids may even consider you and your spouse’s ideas when planning the itinerary. Make sure you give them some qualifiers like the amount of time you’ll be on this trip and approximately when you expect them to rise and go to bed each day.

When traveling, of course, it’s fair to be a bit more flexible, but since we’re on the road full-time, it’s one way to maintain consistency for the kids.

Develop a Community Connection

Playing with friends in Panajachel, Guatemala

When teaching Social Studies skills to my children, I always talk about what it means to be a good citizen and community member. Wherever we travel to, I think it’s important to give back to the community.

During their plan a vacation project, have your kids find some service-based opportunities in the area or local businesses to support. For example, whenever we are at a campsite, my family will help pick up trash. When we’re visiting a new community, we look for black-owned restaurants and other businesses to eat and shop at.

I’ve also found that service and experiences are better when you immerse yourself in a community rather than just be a tourist, visiting all the usual spots. Give your kids some direction and allow them to research these unique community connection opportunities for their vacation planning project.

Present the Vacation Planning Project

Click here for The Best Homeschool Curriculum

Language arts skills also are about speaking skills. Have them share their destination choice, budget, and itinerary with the whole family. If you’re at home with tech access, try a digital presentation on Google Slides, Adobe Spark, or iMovie.

Otherwise, a good old-fashioned brochure or scrapbook can be just as fun! I love having my kids present their vacation planning project because it not only gets them invested in our travels, it’s also a great time to bond and chat!

In addition, when the kids have input with our travel planning discussions, they tend to enjoy the trips even more.

Bottom Line

Who knew learning Math, Social Studies, and English skills could be so much fun? Let your kids explore the world and create a vacation planning project that brings in all these subject areas.

Whether you’re planning for the distant future or the next month or even a dream vacation, this vacation planning project will get your kids excited to learn and travel!

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