Travel and foreign languages are some of the best experiences we can give our kids. They are the gifts that keep on giving, enriching so many areas of their lives. But how can you combine the two, so that your kids are learning but having fun at the same time?
When you’ve chosen your holiday destination there is little more exciting than starting to plan all the things you want to see and do as a family. Whether that involves day trips and hours spent on the beach, or exploring nature and visiting amusement parks, knowing a little language as you plan can build that excitement even more.
Want to visit a zoo? Use apps like Babbel and Duolingo to teach your kids the words for some of the animals you will see so that when you scroll through the zoo’s website they can point out what they already know. Like going to water parks? Your kids learning the words for things like water, shute, and slide can build their excitement for the trip when they tell you all the things they want to try out. There are so many possibilities!
Peace of mind
Travelling as a family can be a stressful experience before you even set off, with potential delays and worrying about those last things you forgot to pack. You don’t want additional stress when you get there! Use websites like Language Trainers or FluentU to learn a little language for things like directions, medical emergencies, and the basic words for important buildings or landmarks will help you feel more prepared for anything.
Even knowing the words for ailments like sunburn and grazed knees can make a trip to the pharmacy a little easier. What words do you never think about needing on a day out here in England? These are the ones you should think about learning for when you travel overseas!
New, unknown food can be a daunting experience when you travel with kids, both for you trying to convince them to eat, and them if they don’t like the look of what they’re seeing! By learning a little vocabulary for food and drink before you travel, you can take some of the difficulty out of your future dining experiences. You can even look up the menus of some of the restaurants you intend to visit, so as a family you can learn what is really in these strange and exotic-sounding dishes!
A better experience
Your children knowing simple words like please and thank you are almost guaranteed to earn them an endearing smile while in the queue for ice cream — and possibly an extra scoop of sprinkles! And if your kids have questions about the monuments you are taking all those selfies in front of, having a basic understanding of the language means you can get the answers for them instead of just saying you don’t know.
You might even stumble across a friendly local who is happy to give you the real history of the place, when a tour guide might be overpriced and only mention the basics. Understanding the language spoken around you means you and your family can immerse yourselves in a city or country, instead of just visiting it. What better travel experience is there than that?
Once you’re home from your holidays and post-holiday blues set in, why not make a scrapbook of your photos to keep those memories fresh in your minds? By annotating those pictures with a little of the language you have learned, this can reinforce both those memories and your language skills.
What better way to learn a language than by travelling?
** This is a collaborative post **