The world is full of teachable moments. Each day is the equivalent of a new chapter in a textbook of valuable lessons that will help children grow into responsible and productive adults. Planning and executing a move between new homes doesn’t have to be something that is stressful and anxiety inducing in children. Instead, treat it as an exciting adventure with new things for them to explore and learn at every stage of the process.
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Math and Science
Math and science are easy to incorporate into a move of any duration, but longer moves give students a greater opportunity to form a hypothesis and collect data. Depending on the age of the child there are many games they can play which will help further their mathematical and scientific understanding.
Choose a few data points with your child for them to track as they move through different states. This could be the number of state parks, specific fast food restaurants, or rest areas. They can then make a guess about the number of each they will encounter based on the miles in each state or their own intuition. Have them track and graph their observations and use the data they collect to help formulate a better hypothesis about upcoming states. To check their work, they can use a map app or the internet to see how many of the selected features were in fact on their route and if they missed any.
Another activity could be to calculate the estimated time of arrival at different points along the way based on the average speed, number of miles, and anticipated stops. Have them track how much they missed the total by each time so they can see how their ability to calculate the factors increased over the duration of the trip.
Another math lesson would be to let them help you with the budget for the move. Explore different options like having a moving company do all or part of the work and how much money that can save vs. the time spent doing it all yourself. In addition to a good math lesson, it’s also a good life lesson.
Geography and History
If you will be moving to a different region, geography and history can be front and center on the academic roster. Many moving companies like North American Van Lines are able to help families planning long distance moves. By allowing a professional to take care of the driving and heavy lifting, you will have more time to explore the new terrain and discuss the history of the various areas you pass through.
One of the most popular and well-known games for increasing geographical awareness is to have children look for different states on the license plates of the vehicles they encounter on the trip. They then use a map of the United States to locate and mark the tags they’ve seen. Many states also have the county or parish of the tag which could create an even greater understanding of the geography of individual states.
To make the trip something to look forward to rather than to dread, encourage the children to research the history of each state they will be visiting. Then turn that information into a vacation brochure to share with you as you cross each state line.
English and Literature
Encourage children to find a historical event or significant person from each state they will be driving through. Then purchase an age appropriate book on each topic for them to read while they are traveling through that state. Alternatively, they could read a fictional book about the time period or person.
Once they are finished with the book, have them write a book report giving details about the person or event. Depending on their age, this could also be done with audio books and drawings.
Time Management and Planning
Moving requires precise planning and time management skills. Have your child begin by planning exactly how they want their own belongings to be packed. Give them a suitcase to take with them and then have them go through their clothes and toys to identify what they want to bring, what they would like to donate to a charity, and what is broken and should be recycled.
After you’ve explained all the things they need to do before the movers arrive, have them take a calendar and plan what they will do each day and how long it will take during their daily sessions. At the end of each have them track the accuracy of their estimation and revise the prediction for the following day to learn how to better estimate the time requirements of a project.
Whether you are teaching your child to take responsibility for themselves by having them clean up after themselves or you are turning life events into educational adventures, it is important to take advantage of every teachable moment with your children. Doing so will ensure they have the best foundation for succeeding in life as an adult.