Shh – Don’t Tell Them, but The Kids Are Learning
When school’s in session, you might think that the time for fun family travel is over until the next break. But you can take your kids on trips, make family memories and reinforce what they are learning in school without waiting for the holidays.
Quick weekends away offer an opportunity to enjoy precious family time, as well as a tool to help kids discover the world. Holiday Inn offers affordable family getaways with locations near major museums and cultural institutions, as well as beaches and parks. Plus, kids can stay and eat for free.
With some planning, you can turn a fun weekend into a bonanza of learning. And the best part is that your kids will be having so much fun that they probably won’t even notice.
Lay the Groundwork for Learning
When you’re planning family travel, mine your kids’ passions for destinations that will interest them. Can you visit historic sites they’ve studied within driving distance? Plan a stay at the Holiday Inn Boston Bunker Hill Area, and you’ll have access to all of the museums and monuments along Boston’s Freedom Trail. Or immerse your family in Colonial history in Williamsburg, while staying at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites-Williamsburg Historic Gateway.
Art offers another great way to engage your kids on vacation. Does the Art Institute of Chicago show paintings or sculpture by artists whose work your kids have been copying in art class? Stay at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Chicago Downtown, and you’ll be able to explore the originals with your children.
Look to Zoos, National Parks for Inspiration
For kids who are animal lovers, you’ll find that the Holiday Inn San Diego-Bayside is a short drive from both the San Diego Zoo and the zoo’s Safari Park, where kids can learn about animals and their habitats.
Nature is always a wonderful classroom — ecosystems from meadows to tide pools offer unparalleled opportunities for hands-on learning. Book a room at the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone, and share the many wonders of Yellowstone National Park. Or enjoy an urban ecology adventure in Milwaukee, where during a stay at the Holiday Inn Milwaukee Waterfront you can ride bikes from your hotel along Lake Michigan to the Discovery World museum, which offers exhibits on the Great Lakes.
Do Your Homework
Read up on your destination in advance, involving your kids in your planning and helping them find questions they can answer. A trip to the library can provide you with some age-appropriate books; you can also spend time together looking at websites for the places you plan to visit. If you’re doing your research from your Holiday Inn hotel room, you can access free WiFi through IHG Connect.
Look for programs that will engage your child, like making paper airplanes at a science museum or painting self-portraits at an art museum. Check to see if there are guide applications you can download (many museums and parks offer these for free). Jot down a few things you’d like to learn as well, and pack notebooks and pens for journaling while you’re on the road.
Learn on the Go
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, take time to explore it carefully with your child. If you’re in a museum, read panels aloud and ask them questions. On a hike or nature walk, take time to stop and look at trees, birds, insects and plants.
Don’t feel like you need to have all the answers — onsite experts can help you learn, too. Take advantage of guided tours at museums and historic sites, or find out if a state or national park offers presentations or guided walks with naturalists. Be sure to listen carefully and ask questions yourself — when you do this, you model active learning for your kids.
If your child is old enough to have a phone or tablet, or to use yours, encourage them to take photos of the things that are exciting, engaging or beautiful. You might also choose some postcards to purchase from the souvenir shop.
Relax and review together
At the end of a fun and successful day, spend some time in your quiet, comfortable hotel room discussing what each of you learned about the place you visited. Look through the photos you all took and talk about what you most enjoyed. Invite your child to write or draw pictures about the day in their journal or on the backs of the postcards you purchased. Help your child reflect by asking questions like:
- What did you learn today that surprised you?
- What was your favorite part of the day? Why?
- List three facts that you didn’t know this morning.
Staying at a Holiday Inn can help you achieve that trifecta of family travel — fun, education and fantastic memories — without waiting for school to be out.