Travel education – ideas and resources for families with children (part 1)

Travel Tips

Howdy! We are the Kinder Trips team (Miruna, Noria and Silviu), and the main topics we address on this blog, since its inception, are:

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Family travel is a very important part of our lives. We use every opportunity to travel, learn, familiarize ourselves with new environments, accumulate information and moods, discover places and meet people.

I wrote here about some of the advantages and benefits of travel education for children.

In this article we want to offer you a series of ideas, tools and resources to bring an educational component to your family vacations and travels.

Travel journal

A travel journal helps you enter into a process of reflection on what you see, connect with places on a personal level, process and filter information, see what is really important to you and your desire to knowledge.

How can we help children keep a travel journal? Simple – we provide them with one 😊.

This journal can be anything (a notebook, a diary, etc.). There are also journals with a ready-made design that you can buy. Like the model this or this.

Noria completes her travel diary, in Gran Canaria, San Felipe

A peacock spotted in the Jardin de la Marquesa Botanical Garden in Gran Canaria

A new species observed, learned and recorded in the diary – the dragon tree, in the Canary Islands

If the little ones don’t know how to write yet, we encourage them to draw. We can help them write down a description of the pictures, asking them how they want to word it (as we did).

In the last travel journals we kept, in Gran Canaria, we also used black and white printed pictures with a mini-printer that we had with us.

I pasted the pictures in journals and sometimes colored them 😂. Noria kept her own diary and I kept mine. I also put in the journals and pressed flowers that I picked from the island.

Noria’s diary 😊

my diary 😊

The more complicated part is the fact that it is necessary to guide the children, to talk with them about what they liked and what they understood from a visited place, to help them internalize the information, to select that something with which they they resonated, to be able to relate their experience to a larger context.

And insist that they fill in the diary when they get lazy 😊. All this requires some effort.

Because travel education isn’t just about lounging by a pool, it’s about making an active effort to learn about, document, and carefully curate your desired experiences while leaving room for the new and unexpected.

Pages from Noria’s diary, Gran Canaria 2022

The sand dunes of Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, drawn in Noria’s diary

Authentic travel experiences with local guides

Booking a tour with a local guide is definitely a great tool to help you connect with the places you visit on a higher level and understand them better.

For example, on our last long-term trip (a month in the island of Gran Canaria), we used 2 guided tours:

  • A visit to the only coffee plantation in Europe, a winery and an orange grove, various other fruits and herbs (all in one place) – Finca de la Laja and Bodega los Berrazales. A superb place that added peace, relaxation and knowledge to our holiday. Find here more details.
  • A guided tour through the mountains around the town of Galdar, which included a visit to the stablea cheese making session and a meeting with local shepherds / cheese makers on the island.

Picture taken by our guide on the mountains around Galdar, in Gran Canaria

La stână in Gran Canaria – guided ecotourism tour

When I explored Harghita county, as part of another travel project, I had 2 super interesting guided tours:

  • Visiting the Aragonite Museum in Corund
  • Visiting a workshop to pick up the mushroom, a mushroom from which skilled craftsmen create all kinds of objects.

Find more details about our travel project in Harghita county here.

Such tours can be booked in many countries that you visit.

The important thing is that first of all you want it, it is part of your interests, and then you do a proper documentation, reading blogs with the stories of other travelers, travel guides, looking for authentic, local experiences, ecotourism tours, forays nature guides etc.

Visit to the fish processing workshop in Harghita

Camera and photo printer

The camera is a perfect tool for any little traveler or nature explorer!

If for us adults it’s quite simple to take pictures with our phones during vacations, for children it’s a little more complicated, especially if we don’t want to take away their smart phones from a young age.

We gave our little girl the camera sold by fellow bloggers Creștem and Călătorim. Their cameras are in two colors (blue and pink), have a 26 MP camera, with which children can take pictures and videos.

The camera operates on a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 5 hours. It also has a transfer cable for pictures on the computer. Find here device.

At the Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Site in Galdar, Gran Canaria, documenting exhibits depicting the life of the ancient aboriginal tribes that inhabited the island before Spanish colonization

At the end of last year we took more of a joke and a small photo printer, appeared in an advertisement on the Facebook feed.

The printer outputs black-and-white photos, not very great quality. But still for us it turned out to be a good and funny resource. Here is the model we use. There are also more expensive portable printers that probably produce much better quality pictures.

Something like that

We printed a lot of pictures in our last Gran Canaria travel project, which we then stuck in our journals and our little girl had a lot of fun coloring them.

In the end, we got some much funnier and more attractive travelogues that we now look back on fondly when we miss the island.

Noria’s diary came out very colorful in the end. I loved how she interpreted each picture, so I asked her to color mine as well 😂

Binoculars and magnifying glass

If you are passionate about ecotourism and holidays spent in the middle of nature, as we are, then binoculars and a magnifying glass are two very good tools that you can have with you, as they do not take up much space in your luggage.

With their help, you can investigate various details in nature or observe various living things in their natural environment.

We use one pair of binoculars for adults and one for children, both from Decathlon. They also have a good magnifying glass model.

Bird watching with binoculars

With a magnifying glass among leurds and insects 🙂

Regarding observations in nature, it is important to arm yourself with one thing in particular: patience!

The first time we got binoculars to our little girl, she got bored quite quickly, but after a while she also started to have patience in observing birds (the main living things that we observe with binoculars).

Patience is learned, slowly, slowly. We still have work to do 😊

Place based learning or education for a good knowledge of the place where we live

During the periods when we do not travel and stay at home, we replace travelschooling (education through travel) with “place based education / learning”, i.e. education for a good knowledge of the place where we live: locality, surroundings, counties, country.

Concretely, we walk a lot around the area around the house, through the county and neighboring counties. And all over the country, that we just have an on-going project called Romania Slow Travel.

We learn about places, people, plants, animals, natural and cultural heritage, plus anything else that piques our interest.

Walking the hills around our town to learn about edible plants and pick them is a common “place based learning” approach that we practice in our family

We connect deeply with the spaces in the (extended) proximity of the home and try to uncover layer after layer of knowledge – a long, laborious and rewarding process.

The advantage of this form of education is that it allows you to reach an in-depth knowledge, while in punctual trips, whether they are also long-term, the knowledge will always be fragmented.

“Place based learning” from our point of view does not represent a current or a trend, but simply an educational philosophy available to everyone.

Unlike travel, which involves certain costs, “place based learning” can also be done in the yard of the house, in the park or in the surroundings of the town where we live.

We started nature explorations and “place based learning” approaches since our little girl was little

Barely 2 years after moving from Bucharest, I also learned where leurda grows. It really wasn’t to be found everywhere, as we thought 🙂

After many searches, I also learned the hills in the north of Dâmbovița county, where the best sea buckthorn grows

The goal of this educational philosophy, from our point of view, is to connect as best as possible with the places of birth (or with those where you live), to value them, to know the local community and its resources.

With such a knowledge base, people will be much more open to civic involvement and community action for the collective good.

There is much to say about this educational philosophy, and we will provide more information.

Until then, we want to encourage you to start practicing it: if you can’t go on more distant trips that often, then go and get to know the place where you live as well as possible! You’ll be surprised at how many layers of knowledge you’ll gain!

Here find an article that can help you with this.

On Kinder Trips we write about:

  • Traveling with children
  • Education in nature
  • Alternative communities and lifestyles

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It’s called Nature Education and Travel with Kids – here we frequently publish resources about nature and outdoor education.


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