5 Ways to Make Any Trip Fun & Educational for Kids

5 Ways to Make Any Trip Fun & Educational for Kids | Coupons.com

School may not be in session just yet – but that doesn’t mean summertime should equal total downtime for learning. A family vacation is a great way to expose kids to a new city or culture. It’s also a perfect opportunity to take advantage of attractions and opportunities for discovery in other destinations, well beyond the beach or a theme park.

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No matter where you’re going, there are a few simple activities you can incorporate to encourage your children to actually absorb everything they’re experiencing. For example, try to:

  • Create a scavenger hunt with a checklist of items to look out for based on where you’re going. When your child has completed their list, let them pick out a souvenir of your trip.
  • Play the license plate game but with a twist. Get the kids to jot down when they spot a new license plate – then quiz them what that state’s capital is, or other fun trivia. The more answers they get right, the more points they earn toward a special reward.
  • Download a tourism app before you leave and take some time to study the facts. You can play tour guide as you drive through town to your hotel or to attractions, pointing out key sights.
  • Give the kids their own travel journals and have them wind down at night by writing their favorite activities and moments from the day. Be sure to snap lots of photos and keep ticket stubs so they can create a fun vacation scrapbook once you’re back home.

Whether you’re hitting the road for a quick weekend getaway or packing up the kids for a weeklong expedition, here are 5 creative starting points to plan your next adventure for a mix of learning and laughter.

1. Walk on the Wild Side


Do you have an animal lover in your household? There are amazing animal parks across the U.S. that can give you child exposure to new types of species, or unique atmospheres. Take time at each exhibit to highlight a few facts about the animals, or look out for prescheduled zookeeper talks to learn what it takes to care for different creatures.

Where to Visit:

  • San Diego Zoo: It’s ranked one of the best in the world, in part for its super diverse wildlife – from pandas and koalas to penguins and arctic foxes, this wildly popular tourist attraction is a must-see.
  • Seigfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat: Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas is this peaceful oasis. Home to giant cats and dolphins, your kids can sign up to be a dolphin ‘Trainer for a Day’ or paint with these friendly water mammals!
  • Lion Country Safari: If a ticket to Africa isn’t in the budget, a road trip to Florida can give you a similar experience. This drive-thru safari park has seven different distinct areas filled with species from around the globe.

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2. Park It


Theme parks are a popular summer holiday destination, but what about a different type of park? We’re talking National Parks, home to some of the country’s most beautiful scenery and unique natural wonders. Get the kids to drop their screens and take in the beauty of the great outdoors – from exploding geysers to giant redwood trees, they’ll be amazed at the magic around them.

Where to Go:

  • Redwood National Park: See the world’s tallest trees and be prepared to feel incredibly small. There are even four on-site campgrounds if you want to enjoy an overnight excursion under the stars.
  • Yellowstone National Park: There’s so much more to this geological paradise than Old Faithful. Take the kids to see bubbling paint pots or ponds with rainbow-like reflections. It’s more dazzling than any movie magic they’d see on the big screen this summer.
  • Grand Canyon National Park: A short drive from Vegas or California, the Grand Canyon is a bucket list sight to see. Take the kids when they’re young – they can become a Junior Ranger to really get to know the park inside and out.

3. Make Like a Tourist and Tour


Exploring a city on your own is definitely fun – you and the kids might stumble upon a hidden gem that the guidebooks might pass over. But for a real insider’s look at wherever you’re visiting, consider booking a walking or bus tour hosted by a local. Many cities offer tours unique to their city’s history; look for options like spooky ghost tours at night or a gangster tour to give older kids a thrill (while learning!)

Places to Go:

  • Walk of the Town D.C. – The nation’s capital is a perfect place to teach the kids about politics and how the government operates today. You can also take in the many historical sights to see in the D.C. area on a free walking tour that won’t tucker out the kids but will keep them entertained.
  • Gunfighter and Ghost Tour – Get a taste of the Wild Wild West by visiting a classic cowboy town, like Tombstone, Arizona. This evening tour sets out at dusk and takes you to 10 of the area’s most legendary (and haunted!) destinations.
  • The Barrel Run Tour – Chicago was a hotbed of activity during prohibition, with notorious names like Al Capone and John Dillinger. This two-hour tour takes you to all the best-known and secret spots for the liquor runners of the early 20th century, complete with era-specific music.

4. Travel Back in Time


One way to get some learning in is to simply immerse yourself in it by visiting one of America’s historical towns. Whether you’re headed to a now-modern city or a place that seems untouched by time, pick up a guidebook or app to help you make the most of everything you see and do.

Places to Go:

  • Colonial Williamsburg – It’s one of the country’s most famous tourist destinations, and for good reason. With every last detail as period-specific as possible, your kids can interact with craftsmen, take a carriage ride through town, and join in the daily children’s orientation walk.
  • Salem, Massachusetts – Once the hotbed of witchcraft and witch trials, this blissful town is filled with history for all ages. Visit the ‘Witch House’, home to the judge who preceded over the trials, and check out the centuries-old buildings that have been preserved by the city’s historical society.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Tour America’s original capital city and expose the kids to important slices of history. Home to Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed, the city also boasts the Liberty Bell and is within driving distance of Gettysburg.

5. Get Cultured


The idea of visiting a museum or gallery may make your child’s eyes glaze over – at first. But there are plenty of kid-friendly attractions across the country that are as much fun as they are educational. Best of all, they’re great when the weather isn’t cooperating – a day indoors on a beach holiday doesn’t have to be a bummer when your kids are dazzled by interactive exhibits and displays.

Places to Go:

  • Musical Instrument Museum: Calling all budding Beethovens! This spectacular museum in Phoenix has over 6,500 instruments on display from around the world. With near-daily concerts and demos, plus plenty of kids’ programming, it’ll be music to the entire family’s ears.
  • National Museum of Play: They’ll hardly believe this place – located in Rochester, NY – is a museum. The largest museum devoted to the study of play, kids can try old school arcade games and challenge each other to a life-size game of chess.
  • Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – This kid-oriented museum is ranked one of the top family destinations in America, largely because it truly is fun for the whole family. Participate in a circus, dance up a storm, explore the space program, and go back in time to the land of the dinosaurs – all this and so much more is in this kids’ paradise.

Ready to book your next family vacation? Start at Expedia’s Last Minute Travel Deals

5 Ways to Make Any Trip Fun & Educational for Kids | Coupons.com


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