When was the last time you visited a museum with your family? Months? Years? Ever? The new year is always full of resolutions, goals and excitement for a fresh start. Make 2014 the year you devote time and energy into investing in your child's future, in more than just the obvious ways.
While reviewing various travel articles earlier in the month, I came across an interesting piece on traveleffect.com about the benefits of taking children to museums and historical monuments. According to a survey done by the Wagner Group, educational travel has a clear impact on children’s academic performance and career growth. The research showed that adults who traveled in their youth were more likely to graduate from high school and 63% of that group goes on to graduate college.
"The best part of this survey is that regardless of ethnicity, family income, age and gender, travel’s benefits to education and future success is universal,” says Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
Museums can be an important and enriching part of everyone’s life. They offer pleasant, positive learning opportunities for adults and children of all ages. Especially during the impressionable years in children, it’s necessary to empower them key skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, imagination and observation and understanding. For kids and young adults both, the educational benefits go beyond simply re-enforcing classroom lessons. These experiences add insight and understanding, but also open their minds to new ideas and new interests.
Suggest visiting a museum to your family soon… and prepare for the whining and complaining that will commence. Explain that you aren’t punishing them with boring school activities outside of school hours, but investing in their education and their future.
“This research shows that simple educational additions to your itinerary whether it’s local culture, history or nature can have major impacts on future career success,” says Dow.The study showed students who traveled in their youth make nearly 12% more (around $5,000) annually later in their careers than those who did not travel. Also, among those who traveled, 86% believed the educational trips made them more intellectually curious inside and out of the classroom, and 90% said their travels were actually fun and inspiring.
The kids still aren’t convinced? Check out these six ways provided by traveleffect.com to make trips to a museum more fun for the family.
- Let the kids help plan the itinerary, starting with taking a virtual tour before you leave home.
- Stage a scavenger hunt in a museum. Buy post cards when you arrive and look for the “real thing” as you make your way through the exhibit.
- Don’t try to see it all! That’s impossible in a major museum—or city. Focus on the kids’ interests and a couple of museum exhibits.
- Divide and conquer, especially if the kids are different ages and have different interests.
- Seek out interactive family discovery zones.
- Leave when the kids have had enough!