From offering nature activities and learning games for kids to teaching them all about travel etiquette do’s and don’ts, cruises have you covered!
When you think of cruises, what comes to mind first? You’re probably thinking of gorgeous waterside views, dining experiences, and fun for the whole family. But did you know that cruises can also be super educational?
Believe it or not, cruises make an ideal out-of-school school for children. From onboard activities like arts and crafts to onshore excursions that teach them why it’s important to learn about other cultures, almost everything about a cruise offers a teaching moment.
The best part? They keep kids learning, all while having fun along the way! Let’s dive into all the reasons why taking your kids on a cruise can be the best way to enrich their learning:
1. Everyone’s a Teacher
The ship’s crew come from many parts of the world, which gives your children the opportunity to meet and mingle with people from a great variety of cultural backgrounds. The other guests likely come from unfamiliar places as well. Have your kids add each new country or city to their map so they’ll become familiar with the names and locations.
2. Return to the Familiar Each Day
Having a familiar room to return to at the end of the day lets everyone unwind and talk about all the new and exciting things they’ve encountered. Building those memories helps your children retain new knowledge. It also means they’ll be well-rested (and not stressed!) for the next day’s adventures.
3. Everything Is New and Different
Everything about a ship is likely unfamiliar to your kids if they haven’t cruised before. They’ll learn about “port” and “starboard,” and experience the night sky in a new way. If you bring along a map, they can plot your voyage and learn about travel variables such as distance and weather.
4. Unpack Once
Time is valuable when you’re a parent. On a cruise, you don’t have to waste time moving yourself, your kids, and your luggage from place to place. This gives your family much more time to explore your surroundings and ports of call. That means plenty of more learning opportunities during your trip!
5. Travel Etiquette
Cruises are excellent locations for teaching your children the rules of travel etiquette. Depending on their age, they may not have had the experience of ordering from a waiter or being courteous to unfamiliar adults.
6. Onboard Activities
Many cruise ships offer onboard learning experiences for kids while en route to your destination. Children can learn about the natural world in the Science and Discovery program and Camp Ocean. Making volcanoes or learning about buoyancy is never this much fun in a classroom.
What Kids Can Learn on Shore Excursions
Shore excursions are ideal teaching opportunities. They engage all the senses, which help instill a deeper understanding of new places and things. Whether you are cruising to Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean or The Bahamas, your kids will gain new knowledge of history, culture, nature and languages.
Reading about a country’s history is one thing, but experiencing it is another. Every country has an interesting past, and many shore excursions take you right to the historically important landmarks. Exploring museums, ancient ruins and forts, and even old local shops helps younger travelers understand a country’s history in a deep, memorable way.
Learning about a region’s culture goes hand in hand with learning about its history. Some of the most fun shore excursions for children are those that let them participate in or watch local customs such as parades, fiestas and markets.
Shore excursions also offer an excellent opportunity to introduce your kids to new foods. What they might not have tried at home may be more appealing in an unfamiliar environment.
If you’re cruising to Mexico or the Caribbean, your kids will encounter people who speak Spanish, and perhaps Dutch and French, depending on your ports of call. You might want to teach them a few basic words and phrases so they can interact with tour guides and locals. If they’re studying one of these languages at school, this is a great opportunity for them to practice.
Each region offers unique geographical features, many of which are outstandingly beautiful. Excursions take you to the area’s natural features, such as jungles, waterfalls, underground rivers and caves. Kids will enjoy exploring the ocean, and snorkeling is ideal for viewing underwater sea life.
These natural areas are inhabited by myriad species of plants and animals that are exciting to encounter for the first time. What better way to teach about wildlife conservation than to introduce your kids to sea turtles or dolphins up close and personal?
One of the very best things you can do as a parent is to give your kids a love of travel. Travel makes us realize we live in a truly beautiful world, and it teaches us that, although not everyone in it is just like us, everyone and everything has worth. Take the excellent teaching opportunities offered by a cruise vacation to explore these worldly wonders with your children.