Improve kids’ intelligence: No reading worksheets

Adventure is the best way to learn.

5 ways travel improves kids’ intelligence                   without reading worksheets                                                                                      

1) Travel improves reading skills by increasing schema without reading worksheets!

Schema is the background knowledge we use for learning new information. Our schema grows and changes as we continue to have life experiences.

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For example, if a child has been to a farm (background knowledge) then when they read a book about a farm they will have a deeper understanding than a child who has not visited.

Same is true for historical homes:


This prior knowledge directly affects reading comprehension without reading worksheets!

2) Travel improves writing ability.

Children who have traveled have heard stories – mythology, religion, history, and can use these stories when writing their own for classroom use, personal use, or for state testing (like the STAR test in Texas).


They also write stories.

Here my kiddo is writing in a journal while waiting for dinner to arrive. We glue in ticket stubs, napkins, and whatever ‘stuff’ kiddo thinks is important.


These ‘books’ get read again and again at home.


It will give your kiddo something to write when faced with the dreaded first day back to school assignment, “What I did over the summer vacation”.

3) Travel improves higher level thinking skills without dreaded reading worksheets.

Critical thinking skills are developed and strengthened at each point in a trip from the planning of time (How can we best determine which sites to visit? How can we make the most of our time?),  to interpreting art.


Also, we use imagination to think outside the box. Building a fort in a hotel room is always fun – and creative.


4) Travel puts subject area skills to work in real life situations without dreaded reading worksheets.

Social Studies: Reading a map is necessary when traveling. Learning to use one when it is really needed leads to a much deeper understanding than a worksheet in a classroom.


History: Walk where Julius Caesar walked. See where the Queen of England lives. Observe the Mayan Ruins in Mexico.


Math: Convert money. Make change. Decide what time it is at home based on the time change (preferably before calling someone back home!).


Science: See the church where Galileo perfected his theory of the Earth revolving around the sun. Understand that the sink drains in reverse in the southern hemisphere. Experience the Earth’s rotation with time zones. Visit caves and learn about stalagmites, stalactites, and which one is which!


Reading: Non-fiction text like, “What is on the menu?” or those blurbs beneath exhibits in museums are valuable that deepen what is taught in the classroom. Fiction text is great, too – like reading Anne of Green Gables before a trip to Canada. See each country’s page for reading lists for destinations: Paris, New York, Canada, and London.


5) Travel improves self-confidence.

As of this moment, self-confidence is not a ‘tested category’, but every parent and educator will agree that a child with a strong sense of self will out score a child with a low sense of self. Every time, in every subject.


Teaching your child that they can outline and execute a plan for a trip, encounter new sights, languages, and people, read a map, use foreign money, eat weird new food and thrive – is a life long set of skills that improves self-confidence.


Teach your child to be brave and figure out how the sink works and the toilet flushes! Embrace what is new and different.


Strong, self-confident people score higher, run faster, and leap tall buildings….well, you get the picture.


6) Travel improves reading skills without reading worksheets.

Travel improves reading skills by putting them into real world situations.


Real world situations like reading your train ticket, figure out your bus schedule, read the menu, learn the hours of the amusement park you want to visit.

Is reading really that important? In a word: YES.


My travel guides, written for elementary school readers have fictional text (Mythology) and non-fiction text (like Roman/Greek myths, tongue twisters, and  jokes) which make reading something the child WANTS to do. Practice reading while making your trip more interesting for the whole group! Go here for travel guides  just for kids. No boring reading worksheets necessary.


Reading skills are valuable and not only increase test scores, but increase all things good!

Be sure to read about your destination before you go. Choose a country from the menu at the top of the page and look for a reading list!


Take this list and persuade the powers that be: travel is educational! Traveling opens your eyes, changes your thinking, and shows you the world is a very, very big place.  It is all good – test or no test. So enjoy! Read! Learn! Experience! Then, the test will take care of itself.

Happy and educational travels!

Natalie, The Educational Tourist




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15 Responses

  1. So true!! As a teacher and parent I vote for travel with kids. They learn everything you describe without realizing it:)

  2. I think travelling is one of the best ways to learn, even as an adult! I didn’t travel much as a child, but the trips that we did take I still remember and I learned a lot from. When we have children I want to start travelling with them from a young age

    • NatalieTanner says:

      So glad to hear you talk about remembering the trips you took as a child. I think many people fear that the kids won’t remember so they shouldn’t make a point of taking them. It is an interesting thought, too, since most would agree that kids learn every single day – even tiny ones as every single thing in the whole world is new! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I agree with all of these. It makes history so much more real when you see it in person rather than just reading out it.

  4. I think you learn a huge amount by travelling. It helps to build empathy and understanding of different cultures/races too. We see people doing similar things in a different setting and suddenly we are brought closer. It breaks down stereotypes and helps build knowledge about a range of subjects as you have detailed. Great points and I completely agree

  5. BonBon says:

    So true!!! The best part… the kids are having so much fun at the same time:) Thanks for this piece:) Happy Travels!!!

  6. Love, love, love this post! My wife and I are both educators and found this to be re-affirming.

  7. Every one should be travelling. Travelling the world gives you a broad mindset. No doubt about it.

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