Today I want to share some tips for traveling with children, particularly those that best fit the Montessori philosophy. In this collection there are ideas to suit different ages, so I’m sure you will find something interesting; if you are planning to travel with kids keep reading!
Before the trip
It’s a great idea to involve children in the planning, so they will feel they’re contributing instead of being taken from one place to another without being asked. In addition, the experience will be much richer and more attractive if they already have an idea of what will happen, the means of transport you will take, the places you will visit …
1. Calendar “countdown”: We can explain them when we will be traveling and mark in the calendar the days left. It can be very exciting and helps them understand the concept of time (and the concept of “patience”!)
2. Research the destination: May be looking for books in the library, watching a documentary, consulting a travel guidebook together… There are many ways to do it! In Montessori we always work concrete before abstract, but I think this situation is a good exception to skip it 😉
3. Create a roadmap together: To carry during the trip, as it helps children to be aware of where we are, and to avoid (or at least reduce) the “are we there yet?”
4. List to pack: This printable makes it very easy for children to pack their bag with very little help. Alejandro has been using it since he was 3 and loves to take responsibility for this task!
Journey and destination
The journey can be much more enjoyable when you consider some details, and during the stay we can also organize ourselves so that we all enjoy and rest although everyone has different needs!
5. Have a flexible planning: It’s lways good to have a margin, for example we can make a list of what we do not want to miss and then another list of things we like to do but are more expendable. Thus we can prioritize, and if for example the must-see of the day takes longer than expected because we find it very interesting we can eliminate some of our expendable activities from our agenda.
6. Small array of activities and entertainment for the journey, waiting in airports, restaurants, etc. In this post at Living Montessori Now there is a good collection of activities “to go” inspired by Montessori.
7. Books are also a “must”, we always take some favourites and some new (novelty effect is the guarantee of success!)
8. Healthy snacks (and some surprises): When we travel we can not always control meal times, so having healthy snacks at hand is always welcome. Here again the novelty effect works well; we like to pack things that our kids already know and like and also some surprises.
9. Idependencia & Order: As far as possible we should keep in the place where we stay the sense of order and independence that children have at home. For example give them a space where they can have their clothes and things at their reach, try that the bathroom is accessible to them …
10. Travel Journal: Some children may like the idea of documenting their experience in a travel journal. A simple notebook can serve for drawing, writing, pasting tourist brochures…
11. Photograph: Continuing with the idea of documenting the journey, giving the child a simple camera can be a great way to promote their attention to detail during the trip. There are very affordable digital cameras (in this post I showed the one Alejandro has), and disposable cameras can also be a good choice.
12. Encourage learning opportunities without forcing them: It is very nice to visit a museum or do some educational activity, but do not forget that kids can also learn a lot by simply walking through a town or in the countryside, playing “I spy” in a new city, enjoying the local cuisine …
13. Souvenirs: Some may become small treasures for children, and we can let them choose themselves within limits; for example depending on their age we can give them a budget to spand on souvenirs and let them manage it, or we can set a size limit in order to avoid suitcase-closing problems…
14. Check the photos of the trip: we can select our favourites to create an album, to complete the travel journal or to hang on the wall. Children usually enjoy remembering anecdotes of when the photo was taken, or information about the photographed object…
15. Research a topic that has been of interest: As we did before the trip we can do it again when we’re back, but this time focusing on what has particularly caught the child’s attention.
This are my 15 tips for traveling with kids the Montessori way, do you have any other suggestions? Please share in the comments!