The following is a guest post from Kelly Warfield. Kelly believes:“The world is packed full of interesting and diverse cultures, and teaching kids through travel can help prepare them for the future. School vacation is the perfect time to introduce your children to the different histories, norms, and perspectives held by the many thriving cultures around them.” If you are a WiseMommies’ follower than you know how strongly we believe the same as Kelly. The following are some wonderful Out & About: Cultural Learning Journeys to Take Your Kids On via Kelly Warfield!
For many families, the goal is to plan one big vacation each year — the perfect time is when the kids are out of school in the summer or winter months. This time off doesn’t mean that learning has to stop, though. With so many culturally rich destinations to choose from, you can give your kids an outstanding educational experience while they travel. Here are some great cultural learning journeys to help your family get the most out of this year’s vacation.
Amsterdam, Holland, and the Netherlands
Amsterdam is a compact location, easy to navigate through, and chock-full of museums. With bike paths and boats throughout the city, families can move freely and soak up the sights and sounds. As one of the most family-friendly locales throughout Europe, Holland’s largest city is a wonderful place to learn.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank house provides a great opportunity to teach children about the Second World War and the story of the tragedies that befell the Jewish people during that era. This house was the hiding place of Anne Frank, where she wrote her famous diary during this tragic time.
Van Gogh Museum
As one of the world’s 25 most popular museums, this one holds the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh paintings, drawings, and letters. It provides a beautiful space in which to admire his works of art, and teach children about his legacy, and the great impact he had on our art and culture.
Day Trip to Delft
Take a Dutch day trip and walk through Delft’s narrow, canal-lined streets. Kids can take stock of the beautiful architecture while learning about the career of painter Johannes Vermeer and the distinctive pottery known as Delftware.
Washington, D.C., United States
America’s capital, Washington, D.C. is rich with the sights, culture, and history of our nation. If you want to teach your kids about their home country, or the current governmental processes, the opportunities for learning are endless.
Visit George Washington’s home estate, where you’ll learn about his life’s accomplishments, and his dedication to making this nation great. Tour his mansion, the working blacksmith shop, and many interactive exhibits. Encounter the gardens, farm animals, and even the gristmill at the home and resting place of our founding father.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm
Travel back in time at this living history museum! Allow your kids to explore a day in the life of an 18th-century American on this real working farm, operating as it would have just before the Revolutionary War. Learn about our country’s agriculture and crafts, while helping to gather wheat from the fields, make butter, and tend to the farm chores. Check out their website for season-specific activities — no matter what time of the year you visit, you’re in for an eye-opening experience.
International Spy Museum
Take your kids on a super secret mission to the International Spy Museum, where you can each take on your own cover identity and learn all about undercover. Find out what skills, training, and knowledge is required to become a spy; walk through the gallery of 19th-century spy tech that was used during the Civil War, and see how far tech equipment has come for the modern secret agent.
As Japan’s capital, this metropolis offers limitless avenues of entertainment and chances to take in the country’s culture. Tokyo contains a great many museums, temples, and gardens to marvel at.
Ueno Park Museums
Ueno Park is famous for its museums. Introduce your children to the local culture and history at the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the National Science Museum, the Ueno Zoo, and others.
Asakusa holds the popular Buddhist temple Sensoji, where you can find a variety of traditional snacks and souvenirs. Jump on a rickshaw and go on a 30-minute tour around the town to get a feel for its traditional ambiance and rich history.
Tokyo’s beautiful gardens filled with ponds, trees, and flowering bushes sit throughout the city, hidden among the buildings or surrounding the mansions of aristocrats. Take the time to check out the most famous of them, including Hamarikyu Gardens, Rikugien Garden, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, Kiyosumi Garden, and Tonogayato Garden.
Ontario offers a fabulous road trip destination, with plenty of sights to see, room to roam, and history to uncover. This Canadian province features both outdoor and indoor activities galore — everything from museums and tours, to festivals and natural wonders — and family-friendly learning around every corner.
Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre in Toronto is filled to the brim with exhibits teaching all about the world we live in. Explore the rainforest ecosystem, with its tropical plants and animals; or go for a virtual flight inside of a giant steel bird, to see what our feathered friends experience! Kids can learn how to make their own paper, practice talking on the radio, and spark their science knowledge at the electricity demo.
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures
If you have a family full of nature-lovers, this is the trip for you. Walk amid the treetops through one of Canada’s biosphere reserves. In this wild and vibrant forest, you’ll learn about unique animal and plant species, as well as the history of the First Nations’ Huron Petun tribe that lived here. Explore ancient caves that are more than a million years old — and, if you’re feeling really adventurous, book a chance to glide down a zip line for a breathtaking view of the landscape.
Royal Ontario Museum
Get lost in a world of discovery at the Royal Ontario Museum. Galleries abound show off clothing and costumes, dinosaurs, Canada’s First Peoples, and more. At the CIBC Discovery Gallery, younger kids can engage in learning by coloring, trying on costumes, and digging for fossils. If you’re brave, step into the realistically immersive bat cave and learn about the way these mysterious mammals live, fly, and use echolocation to get around.
Kelly Warfield is the editorial director of teacher products for Carson-Dellosa™ Publishing Group. Driven by her passion for children and their education, Kelly has been helping children all of her life as a camp counselor, tutor, summer school teacher, classroom volunteer, PTA member, and teacher.
Kelly received her bachelor of science in deaf education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with Birth—12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher Licensure. Her teaching experience includes second grade, as well as being an elementary school resource room and a self-contained elementary deaf-education class teacher. During her first year as a teacher, Kelly was awarded her school’s Rookie Teacher of the Year Award.