Travel can introduce kids to the world’s real-life wonders, changing their perspective on topics they may have only read about in books. It can literally change their lives. — Katia Hetter, CNN

Ganz, Julie, ed. The Little Blue Book of Travel Wisdom. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2014.
From left to right: The Pantheon (Wallbank, T. Walter. Civilization: Past & Present. New York, NY: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1996); The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci (Zöllner, Frank. Leonardo Da Vinci 1452-1519: The Complete Paintings. Köln, Germany: Taschen, 2019).; and, The Arc de Triomphe (Schultz, Patricia. 1,000 Places To See Before You Die: A Travelers Life List. New York: Workman Pub., 2003)

Learning Outside of the Book

Family travel is about discovering our world, making memories, and learning new things together. As a teacher, I love making trips that extend our kids’ knowledge, reinforce what they are working on in school, or expose them to something they’ve shown an interest in. This type of travel turns a basic journey into an authentic, or hands-on, learning experience for them as well as us.

Whenever we travel to enhance learning for our children, we all gain further insight from the tangible and often immersive interactions that we have. Even if you’ve read about an important or historical person, locale or event previously, or you simply remember learning about it in school a few decades ago, it truly comes to life when you can experience it on a more intimate level.

Our brains, our views of the world, our past, maybe even our future, and certainly our thinking are broadened when we can walk into the home of a historical figure and see how he/she lived, stand beneath a structure and marvel at its size or the artistry involved in its construction, touch walls and walk on roads that have seen over a thousand years of history, or even put our eyes within inches of artwork we’ve only seen in photographs. These things, these people, and the concepts surrounding their existence become more relevant, more authentic to us in those moments.

Family Travel With Bloom’s

The term “authentic learning” is what educators use to describe experiences where students can explore a topic more deeply in a real-world and relevant environment and through hands-on or immersive encounters. These types of events can help engage and expand our brains towards a higher level of thinking, past what a traditional classroom model can offer.

While much of this type of learning will naturally be happening for you and your family as you travel, you can also employ something teachers use to help guide you and enhance your experiences. Bloom’s Taxonomy, a hierarchy of thinking and educational goals developed by Benjamin Bloom and others, is one tool teachers can turn to for inspiration in generating learning objectives for their students.

Each level has action words associated with it. (You may want to do your own search for a larger list of verbs relating to the various levels.). These verbs can help you devise activities, tasks, or even lines of questioning that you can engage in while on your trip.

Here’s a seriously basic example of how it might work on a trip to Rome, Italy:

  • Remember: You may state or recall that Italy is known for its pasta.
  • Understand: Pasta shapes and toppings vary. You will begin to recognize them and maybe even describe them.
  • Apply: Then, you will use your knowledge of these pastas thus far to possibly start thinking about how you might apply this knowledge to choosing the right pasta for your needs.
  • Analyze: Naturally, you will compare and contrast the various pastas, sauces, etc. Maybe you will even question how it is made.
  • Evaluate: Of course you will critique the pasta in Italy. Any subsequent family discussion will likely include differences of opinion and ideas, lending to the arguing, supporting and weighing of the variances in pastas and flavors and personal palates.
  • Create: Finally, you will take your knowledge and develop and construct a pasta masterpiece of your own.

Now, if you really want an immersive, hands-on experience that blends much of this together, sign your family up for a pasta-making class*, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and be curious as you learn. Teachers, no matter what their area of focus, enjoy sharing their passions with an inquisitive mind.

While teachers may use books as tools in education, most, possibly even all, will agree that some of the best learning comes from authentic experiences. Travel, in my opinion, is the ultimate in authentic learning, and can be made more so with Bloom’s as a guide.

* The link provided above is to a search for “Top Rome Cooking Classes” through Viator. I did not receive any compensation, incentive, or other form of encouragement from Viator. This just happens to be what I have used when looking for and booking excursions and experiences. I downloaded the app on my phone a while ago, and with it I can search quickly for things to do in various cities, read descriptions and reviews, see where the meet-up location is, decide if it’ll be a good fit for our family, and finally book and pay right away.

As always, if there’s a better app or service out there that meets my needs, I’m happy to learn about it; so, please let me know in the Comments section below so I can check it out.

Please read the Disclaimer for more information regarding any compensations that might be received.