Traveling Makes Children Smarter

tips for flying with a toddlerOur daughter is only 15 months old, so it might be a bit premature to call her a “genius”, but I’m fairly certain she is going to be one smart cookie.

No, she isn’t reciting Shakespearean sonnets quite yet, in fact she really only has about five words in her vocabulary, and that’s if you count mooing like a cow an actual word. I really have no concrete evidence of her future child prodigy status… except scientific research. 

Not my own research, of course. The only research I do these days involves Google.  I’ll leave the highly involved scientific studies to the actual scientists, and I’ll just focus on sharing their findings in order to prove to the world my child is going to be one of those brilliant kids that will eventually end up on the “Ellen” show.

So in one of my random Google searches about the benefits of traveling with children, I came across this study.

I’ll save you the time and effort of reading it and give your the cliff notes version.

Traveling with your kids makes them smarter.

The study is actually several years old, but according to researchers at Clemson University, children who traveled during their summer break did better in reading, math and other general studies, made better grades and scored higher on academic tests.

Researchers concluded that traveling, whether to the beach, historical sites or national parks, opens up a child’s mind to learning.

Other more recent studies have been conducted with similar findings.

traveling with a toddler
Our little sponge, learning about flowers.

Thus far, the studies have only looked at school age children, so it got me wondering how much of a benefit there is for infants and toddlers who are exposed to travel. I couldn’t find a study on it, however considering 85% of the brain develops during the first 3 years of life, it seems to be common sense that traveling would have an equal if not greater effect on the brains of babies and toddlers.

Therefore, the researchers at Parenthood and Passports (ahem, me) have concluded that traveling with your children during the first three years of life will not only make them smarter, it will make them geniuses! Ok, so that hasn’t been proven. I’ve done absolutely no real research, and my hypothesis is based more on my proud mom status and desire to justify dragging my kid across the globe, but it kind of makes sense, right?!

So take your kids on that summer vacation you’ve been talking about. Plan an impromptu vacay to a nearby national park. You don’t have to drag them to art museums and quiz them on their knowledge of pointillism and impressionism. Just take them somewhere… anywhere. It doesn’t have to be an expensive international trip. Road trip, day trip, vacation in your own backyard. Where ever you take your children, just know the simple act of exposing them to new environments and new things is broadening their perspective and stimulating their young minds to want to learn.




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