For children that are interested in science, or learning, family vacations where they are able to
have hands on experiences are the best. Not only do hands on activities keep children occupied
and happy for hours at a time, but they actively contribute to children’s education through
entertainment. Active science vacations can include everything from exploring geology, learning
about wildlife, discovering the stars or harnessing wind power.
If you want to teach your children more about science, consider any one of these ideas for a
hands on science vacation. While all of these ideas are tons of fun and unique, you should also
take into consideration the ages, fitness level and general interests of your entire family before
making any decisions.
Hands On Geology Vacations
There are so many ways to learn about geology while on vacation, or even plan an entire trip
around the chance to teach children about the earth and how it was formed. Canyons exist all
over the country, and world, and when children are able to see for themselves, they learn best
so take them directly to any canyon formations– most are protected and accessible in our
national and state parks. Have children collect, identify, and compare different rocks and rock
layers. Suggested destinations include a trip to the Grand Canyon, digging for diamonds in
Crater of Diamonds State Park, or fossil hunting along the Illinois River.
Hands on Energy Vacations
Learning about energy and the power it generates is a hard concept for children to understand,
but once they know about the basic concepts there are some very exciting hands on activities to
do. After talking about wind energy, demonstrate through a ride on a sailboat. So many coastal,
Great Lake and other inland lake destinations, have guided boat rides that allow for hands on
interaction. For a special sail, find a tall ship where kids can help hoist the sails that will harness
Hands on Astronomy Vacations
When children have the tools they need to make night sky observations, they enjoy the
challenge to stargaze and take advantage of every opportunity to do so. Camping destinations
are great for dark sky observing, which can’t be found near cities or urban sprawl. If you are
vacationing in a city, you can still give children the chance to observe through the use of public
telescopes. Search for public, or private telescopes that open their doors to the public,
telescopes that families can enjoy.
Hands on Wildlife Vacations
Observing and learning about wildlife comes naturally to children, so try and add some elements
of hands on learning about animals and wildlife to your family vacation. Many popular vacation
times happen when most animals are in their home habitats, so try an plan a vacation for a time
animals are migrating. Study birds, their habits and why they migrate before any trip. Outfit children with binoculars and a data pad for keeping track of the migrating animals they see on their trip. Another great hands on vacation activity includes a trip to coastal regions, where sea turtles hatch. Every year volunteers are sought to aid in the nest watches and flight to the sea, so why not do something good while learning on your next vacation.