> The Beesley Buzz: What do kids learn on holiday?: #Wales4Kids Family Holiday Challenge

What do kids learn on holiday?: #Wales4Kids Family Holiday Challenge

When I spotted this question 'What do kids learn on holiday?' I had to bite my lip to suppress my immediate response which would be 'a darn sight more than they do at school!'

After 3 years of home-schooling our 2 boys, we have come to firmly believe that SO much can be learnt from being outdoors and having fun. The research backs this up too. Everytime I had a wobble about whether we were doing the right thing by home-schooling our children, I would come across article after article about studies that showed that outcomes for home-school children were at least as good, if not better, than children attending school.
Climbing trees on holiday
Our own experiences proved this to be the case too. We had the best 3 years of our lives whilst we were home-schooling and some of the very best of those memories were made whilst we were on holiday.

For various reasons, the boys are both now back in school. They re-entered at well above the average national curriculum levels for their respective year groups which bears testimony to just how much they learnt from their holidays and days out. If you want to see a glimpse of some of the amazing things we got up to on our holidays and whilst homeschooling we made a video for D here and one for J here. Even though the videos are still quite a few minutes long - this is only a fraction of the things they did, the experiences they had and the things they learnt.

As this challenge is in conjuction with Visit Wales, I just have to mention to one of my best memories of all. We had visited Legoland for the day and as it had taken us ages to get there in bad traffic, I couldn't face going all the way home in that traffic so we spontaneously decided to head the other way instead on an impromptu holiday.
The Alliance Sculpture: Cardiff City Centre
It was so exciting. My husband asked me where we were headed to and I said that I'd never been to Wales so let's go there! So we drove and drove into the evening until we crossed the amazing Severn crossing at sunset and at last we were there - in Wales.

We drove on until we got to Cardiff. As much as I would have loved to see the beauty of Rhossili and the Gower Peninsula, by then the kids were tired so we stayed in Cardiff. I didn't know quite what to expect, but I was SO impressed. Cardiff seems to be a city that really has it all.
Cannons at Cardiff Bay
We met a local man who raved about the kingfishers that he saw each day along the River Taff. We saw Cardiff Castle looking splendid in the heart of the city. We got very excited about spotting some of the key Doctor Who locations around Cardiff Bay. And then we discovered a true gem...The National Museum of Wales.

I only wish we had found it sooner as it was incredible. The boys got to hold some ancient artifacts - some of the oldest stone tools known to man. They were told in detail by one of the museum experts about how the discovery of metals evolved and how early man was able to move on from making stone tools to metal tools. They got to see and hold some old coins. Then in the other sections were amazing paintings by famous artists and the stunning sculptures by Rodin. A truly incredible experience.

We loved Wales so much that we pledged to go back and sure enough the following year we headed to the Pembrokeshire coast. The National Park is beautiful and perfect for the children to explore nature and get outdoors rain or shine.
Pembrokeshire National Park: Lots of fun come rain or shine
Our beach holidays have also proved to be valuable learning experiences. Children just don't seem to be able to get bored on the beach. There is always more to be found whether it be rockpooling to find crabs, shrimps and starfish (and lots more!) or finding 'treasures' on the beach in the form of driftwood, pebbles, and seaweed. If you are really lucky, there are even fossils to be found!
Near the beach you can often see different types of rock - chalk, sandstone, granite. Sometimes you can see the layers of rock in the cliffs and how the earth has shifted over millions of years.

You can find pebbles that are smooth - like the type that may have been used to grind grains many thousands of years ago, and some that are sharp edged flints that could have been used to skin animals or chop wood.
At the beach, there are picnics to be had and beach art to be made. The shoreline changes through the day as the tide comes in and out. In warmer weather, there are waves to be jumped and body boarding to be done! The beach is truly one of my favourite places to be on holiday and a place where children will learn without even realising it - that's always the best type of learning.  

Our beach art sea horse.
Body boarding.

So I hope that I've shown that holidays are for learning...children can learn history, geography, art, nature, science, geology, maths, physical education, culture, and all this learning happens by default when on holiday. Learning by having fun, exploring and adventuring and absorbing the environment around you.
Rope making at the ropery
If I've inspired you with our stories of the amazing adventures that we had in Wales, you can find out more about Visit Wales here and you can follow them on twitter @visitwales  and on facebook too.

This post is an entry for the Visit Wales #Wales4Kids Family Holiday Challenge. Wales is the perfect place for a fun-filled family break.

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