OK, Kids, Your Vacation Made You Smarter

Wayne M. Gore - Oct 26, 2009
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It’s now official: children who travel over summer break did better in reading, math and their general knowledge than those who did not, says a US Department of Education study.

“The data is clear – and gives hard-working parents another reason not to put off a summer vacation trip,” said Bill Norman, Clemson University. “Providing kids with the experience of travel broadens their horizons and opens up their minds to learning.”

A series of analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between summer vacation travel and academic achievement in children entering first grade. Specifically, the study explored whether going on a vacation, the number of days spent on a vacation and places visited were linked to academic achievement in the areas of reading, mathematics and general knowledge.

 “Children that travelled with their family over summer vacation scored higher on academic achievement assessment tests than those who did not travel. The days spent on family summer vacation trips had a modest significant relationship with academic achievement,” the study found.

Also, children who visited plays or concerts, art or science museums, historical sites, beaches or lakes, national or state parks, and zoos or aquariums had significantly higher academic achievement scores than those who did not.

“To date, there has never been a study that plainly shows the correlation between travel and academic achievement,” said Jessica Parker, researcher, Clemson University. “It was interesting to see the impact on a child when they spend vacation time away with their family.”

By David Wilkening

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