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For Parents Particularly: Let's Take a Trip!Rita NewmanPublished online: 30 Aug 2012.
To cite this article: Rita Newman (1996) For Parents Particularly: Let's Take a Trip!, Childhood Education, 72:5, 296-297, DOI:10.1080/00094056.1996.10521873
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00094056.1996.10521873
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Lets Take a Trip! family trip or vacation can be either the highlight of the year ,or a nightmare. With a little
research and planning, however, getting away from it all can mean getting to it all. You will have enough experiences and excitement to re- member and share for years to come.
The homilies that education be- gins in the home and the family is the childs first teacher certainly hold true when traveling is involved. Skills critical to scholastic success can be fostered through hands-on activities and direct experiences. Seeing sea- shells and waves on television does not extend a childs view of the world as much as actually being there.
The National Science Education Standards (Klausner, 1996) define the goal of school science as educat- ing students to know about and understand the natural world through experiences. Students must establisha knowledge base and learn by observing and interacting with others. Adults can encourage chil- dren to wonder and explore. A well-planned family vacation can expand a childs education and lead to in-depth learning.
If children are to make the most of their education opportunities and function well in todays world, they must take part in problem-solving activities. They must have experi- ence thinking, planning, analyzing and building toward goals. Schools are relying more and more often on assessment of skills such as prob- lem solving, listening, communicat- ing and social interaction (Guskey, 1996). While on vacation, families can help build these skills by being aware of how much the trip could extend a childs education and of the role they can play.
Family travel is an opportunity to
be together and to share wonderful experiences. In todays society, how- ever, both parents often work and children have elaborate child care and after-school programs to attend. It is a wonder that families can ever have an opportunity to get together,
Travel can be a chance to spend time talking, playing, sharing, lov- ing and learning with your children, Traveling with Children and Enjoying It (Butler, 1991) is a firsthand ac- count of successful family travel ex- periences by car, plane and train, Butler stresses the importance of being realistic-travel with chil- dren has limitations (p. xiv).
The book includes complete and easy-to-follow suggestions for trav- eling with children. Invaluable checklists can be copied and used each time you travel. The first set (pp. 21-31) incorporates reminders about what to do before you leave, ranging from researching your trip and obtaining maps to checkmg the pilot lights in your house. The next chapter and checklist involve what to take and how to pack (pp. 46-64). The balance of the book advises the reader on meals, health and safety, and discipline. The concluding chapters offer travel activities, such as games, songs and fingerplays. A return home checklist (pp. 267-269) concludes the book, with the advice to give yourself a day at home to unwind before you have to greet the everyday world again.
Readers will find an invitation to family-friendly vacations in the an- thology The Family Travel Guide (Meyers, 1995). The editor, together with contributing authors, presents a wealth of information extending from the basics to recommendations for specific places to visit throughout the United States. Other sections in-
clude recommendations for travel- ing with the family in Europe, Af- rica and Israel, for example, or even camping with llamas! The informa- tion in this book is creative and di- verse, as well as practical and useful. The editor includes an awesome collection of resources (pp. 385-389). A unique bibliography of books and audio cassettes (pp. 391-410) will give your family a wealth of ideas for happy traveling and materials to consult while you dream or plan.
A childs resource that could be shared before leaving, while travel- ing or after returning home is Quick Facts About the U S A (Hartley, 1994). This book offers easy-to-read infor- mationabout the50states and Wash- ington, D.C., including brief stories about each places geography and history, sports, recreation and economy, as well as quick facts about time zones, postal abbreviations and attractions. Addresses are included so that children can write for further information.
Driving Tours U S A (Inglefield, 1995) contains information on 30 possible tours throughout the United States. This invaluable guide divides the United States into 10 regions. The unique photographs will capture your familys interest and notations will help you locate activities and locations for children, history buffs and nature lovers. The book contains a wealthof general information, driv- ing advice and superb color maps.
Subjects that children may have difficulty mastering in an abstract classroom setting will come alive on a well-planned trip. Map reading, spelling, vocabulary, distance and time calculations, money allocation, meteorology and cultural awareness can all be enhanced as your family travels together.
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Resources for younger children that are interesting and fun also help build skills. Stuck on the USA (Harvey, Heins & Kelleher, 1994), a sticker book, touches on almost every school subject. Children are challenged to place stickers on each state that identify that state's flag, flower, bird or license plate. Recognizing major cities, crops, famous people, nicknames, sports and sightseeing locations adds to the challenge.
Use guides and materials to share vacation planning with your children. These resources can become part of a collection everyone can use for exploration and plan- ning. Tourism departments are usually eager to send wonderful materials that highlight their state. Request information by mail or phone-the response may sur- prise you and it is also a good lesson in communication. I just received a packet from the Wyoming Division of Tourism that included an outstanding brochure titled Wyoming Vacation Guide (Douglass, 1995), a Wyoming Directory and an official Wyoming highway map. Among these three items, I found a wealth of color photographs, facts and historical data. A classroom textbook may be a good first step for studying the United States in general or each state specifically. Offi- cial travel guides from state tourism departments, how- ever, will certainly inspire new ideas of unexpected sites to discover-even ones in your own state!
Other materials focus on traveling with children to specific areas, such as New York City, Las Vegas, New Mexico, Northern California or New England, and include recommendations for many children's activities to add to your agenda (Fisher, 1994; Julyan, 1994; Land, 1995; Olgintz, 1994; Wright & Blair, 1994). Discover Dallas 2995 (Velvin, 1995) and National Parks of the Southwest (Lovett, 1995) are two examples of guides written for young persons. As children become aware of and curious about the natural wonders and history of the United States, they will want to go beyond the practical information, vital statistics and historical notations.
Another item I discovered while researching family travel is The Children's Travel Journal (Banks, 1994). Children ages 9-12 can keep their own personal journal in this "blank" book, adding to their education as they travel. Before a trip, a child can enter details such as dates, destination and a list of what should be packed. During the trip, the young diarist can describe restau- rants, people, landmarks and much more in the spaces provided. The concluding page has the header "I'll Never Forget." With the help of this book, a child can become the author of a personal book to be proud of and treasure . . . without even realizing that every skill taught or drilled in school was involved in this true accomplishment!
Another unique and compact item for the traveling family and child is Kids Travel: A Backseat Survival Kit (McGibben & Johnson, 1994). This unusually sturdy
and complete kit contains not only information and maps, but also games, songs and travel ideas-all in a ringed binder. An attached zipper pocket contains multicolored pens, puzzle pieces and materials needed for the games and activities.
I hope the ideas and resources shared here will make you eager to take your children on a vacation that will be a positive and rewarding experience. Everyone can surely benefit from a carefully planned, exciting trip and the wonderful reminiscing upon return. Have a wonderful trip!
References and Resources Banks, A. (1994). The children's travel journal. New York The
Little Bookroom. Butler, A. K. (1991). Traveling with children and enjoying it: A
completeguide to family travel by car,plane, train. Chester, CT: The Globe Pequot Press.
Douglass, C. (1995). Wyoming. Cheyenne, WY: Wyoming Division of Tourism.
Faggella, K., & Horowitz, J. (1991). M y trip to Walt Dkney's Wmld resort: A photolog book. New York Stewart & Tabori & Chang.
Fisher, B. (1994). Frommer's family travel guide: New York City with kids. New York PrenticeFallTravel/SimonSchuster.
Gordon, P., & Snow, R. (1992). Kids learn America! Charlotte, VT: Williamson Publishing.
Guskey, T. R. (Ed.). (1996). Communicating student learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curricu- lum Development.
Hartley, N. (1994). Quick facts about the USA. New York Scholastic.
Harvey, P., Heins, E., & Kelleher, K. (1994). Stuck on the USA: Fascinating facts about the5Ostata! New York Grosset &Dunlap.
Inglefield, E. (1995). Driving tours USA. New York Macmillan Travel.
Julyan, B. (1994). Best hikes with children in New Mexico. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers.
Klausner, R. D. (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Land, B. N. (1995). Las Vegas with kids. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing.
Lovett, S. (1990). Kidding around the national parks of the Southwest: A young person sguide. Santa Fe, NM: John Muir Publications.
McGibben, J., &Johnson, K. (1994). Kids travel: A backseat survival kit. Palo Alto, CA: Klutz Press.
Meyers, C. T. (Ed.). (1995). The+ily trmel guide: A n inspiring collection offamilyjhdly vacations. Albany, CA: Carousel Press.
Olgintz, E. (1994). Taking the kids to northern California: Everything that'sfun to do and see for kids and parents, too. New York HarperCollins West.
Portnoy, S., & Portnoy, J. (1995). How to take great trips with your kids. Boston: Harvard Common Press.
Shirk, M., & Kleeper, N. (1995). Super family vacations. New York Harper Perennial.
Velvin, E. (1995). Discover Dallas: A child'sguide 2995. Dallas, TX: Hendrick-Long Publishing.
Wright, P., & Bair, D. (1994). Places to go with children in New England. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
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