Have you heard about The Sunshine Collective? When we first saw their Brilliant Boxes, we were blown away. Erin & Lisa have pooled their vast knowledge and created a box filled with educational learning FUN. Perfect for families on the road and travelling. They are also the perfect match to your Travel Journals…
Read on as Erin shares with us her TOP 10 Road Schooling Activities… Just BRILLIANT! Enjoy xx
When I was 6 years old, my family bought a Jayco Dove and spent 4 months travelling around Australia. It was the most incredible trip and something I have every intention of recreating with my own family. We bought our Jayco Swan late last year and are taking lots of little ‘practice trips’ whilst we plan the big one!
My parents were both primary school teachers; my Dad was actually the principal of my primary school, so keeping up with work while we were away, was pretty easy. Each day, we would sit down for one hour of ‘school’. My Mum would teach me and my Dad would teach my older brother. Our teachers back at school, would sometimes even send workbooks to upcoming destinations, so they would be waiting for us on arrival.
Aside from the formal school hour each day, there was plenty of learning to be done! History, geography and science literally surrounded us everywhere we went and opportunities for English and maths activities were endless.
Children adore activities that relate to real-life. They love to see purpose in what they are learning and genuine engagement is achieved when they can ‘do’ as opposed to simply being told.
As an adult, I am a teacher as well as one half of The Sunshine Collective – a business that creates fun, engaging, real-world educational activities for primary and pre-school children. I think my early days in the Jayco may have inspired my career!
At The Sunshine Collective we create and sell Brilliant Boxes – home (or caravan) delivered boxes packed full of activities designed in line with the Australian Curriculum. We pride ourselves on making learning fun and our goal is help all children to be brilliant!
When I go caravanning with my own children, our Brilliant Boxes keep us on track and keep the kids busy and entertained when Mum and Dad just need that quiet wine (in the good plastic!).
We even create Custom Brilliant Boxes for families, providing additional activities to directly suit their location or their individual needs.
We thought it might be fun to provide you with some of our most popular road-schooling activities. Some of these are adapted from our regular Brilliant Boxes and others have been created for Custom Boxes.
As with all our activities, these relate directly to the Australian National Curriculum and all curriculum links can be viewed on our website: www.sunshinecollective.com.au.
If you like the sound of these activities, keep us in mind for your next trip, or just to support your child’s learning. From home, or on the road, Brilliant Boxes have you covered!
Top Ten Road-Schooling Activities:
- Number work: Keep a record of the population of each town you drive through or visit within a week. Often you can get this information on the ‘Welcome’ sign at the town’s entrance, otherwise, Wikipedia is a good source of information. Once you have your town populations recorded, use the numbers to study place value and addition and subtraction. For the older children, you can also include some division.
Examples of questions to ask are: Which town has a population with a 4 in the hundreds place? Which town has the largest population? Which town has the smallest? What is the difference between the population of the largest town and the smallest town? If all these towns joined together, what would the new population be? What would be a good name for the new town? Looking at the population of Town A, how many houses do you think there might be in that town? How did you work that out?
The possibilities here are endless!
- Measurement: Using a tape measure or a piece of string or rope cut to 1 metre in length, find a tree with a circumference of less than a metre, a tree with a circumference of more than a metre and a tree with a circumference or exactly 1 metre. Draw and label the trees you find.
Make a list of items in your van or tent that are more than a metre long and less than a metre long.
- Time: Time yourselves setting up or packing up camp. How long does it take you? Keep a record and see if you can improve your time as the trip goes on.
You can also time yourselves completing smaller tasks, such as washing the dishes or tidying up your living space. See who in the family is fastest at sweeping the floors! Time penalties apply for shoddy work!
- Data and Graphing: Choose a topic on which to collect data. Some suggestions are:
- The home state or territory of other campers you meet
- The various animal species you see
- The various flower varieties you come across
- Meals prepared
- Hours spent travelling in one day
- The number of people you meet each day
Whatever category you choose, collect data each day for a week or a month. For example, draw up a table with each state and territory as a column title (you might also like to include a column for ‘overseas’) and then put a tally mark in the correct column each time you meet someone from there.
At the end of the week or the month, decide what kind of graph you want to create: bar, column, pictograph, line, pie, and use your data (tally marks) to draw your graph.
- Money: Estimate how much money you think the family will spend over the coming week. Then, during the week, keep track of all the money spent. Write down the items purchased and keep a running total. At the end of the week, have a look back at your estimation and see how close you were. Maybe you can then work with the family to set a budget for the following week.
- History/Geography: You can use these 15 questions to research any town you visit along your travels. Your research can be done through talking to locals, visiting a town museum, visiting a local library (if there is one) or looking at the internet.
- What is the name of the town and how did it get its name?
- Has this town ever had a different name? If so, what was it?
- When was the town founded?
- What is the current population of the town?
- What is one thing this town is known for?
- Using a map of Australia, mark where this town is.
- Which state or territory is this town in?
- What is your favourite thing about this town?
- Would you like to live here? Why/why not?
- What do you think would be difficult about living in this town?
- Was anyone famous born in this town? If so, who?
- How far away is the nearest hospital?
- How far away is the nearest secondary school?
- What is one adjective you would use to describe this town?
- Find out the names of three locals. What are they?
- Spelling: Spend one day, writing down 20-30 words you see on signs or in print around you. You might record words from road signs, café menus, information leaflets etc. When you have your list of words, ask an adult to check your spellings and then use your words to create a word search (or word find) for someone in your family to solve.
Older children could use the list words to create a crossword.
- Story writing: On one given day, write down the very first sentence you hear, or the very first sentence you hear from someone who is not in your family. Write down 3 names you hear spoken, 2 items you see, 1 food or drink you consume and another sentence you hear spoken throughout the day.
You must now use the elements you have recorded in a story. The first sentence you heard must be your first line and the other sentence you wrote down, must be your last line. You must use the names you recorded as your character names and the items and the food/drink must also be incorporated into your story.
When you have finished writing, don’t forget to proofread your work and then share your story with your family.
- Writing: Choose a place you love. It might be in your tent or van, on top of a boulder, under a tree or in the middle of a giant expanse of nothing. Wherever you choose, just sit, be still for a while and think about where you are and how it makes you feel. When you are ready, fill in the gaps in the following sentences:
Here, in this place, I feel ________________
If this place were a colour, it would be _____________
If this place had a sound, it would be ______________
If this place had a name, it would be ________________
If this place were an animal, it would be ________________
When I am here, I feel I could _______________
If a story were told about this place, it would be (happy, sad, scary etc.) _________________
I will always remember this place as being ________________
When you have finished your writing, move away from where you have been sitting and look back at it. Now draw what you see.
- Observation and Memory: Collect 10-20 different items from your environment. You might collect a rock, a feather, a saucepan etc. When you have your items, place them on the ground or on a table in front of you. Spend some time simply looking at and studying the items. Now close your eyes and have someone remove 3 items. Open your eyes. Can you work out what’s missing?
This activity can be repeated several times and can also be adapted as a spelling/writing task: Have the adult collect the items, the child/ren study them for 1 minute. Then throw a blanket over the collection and the children have to use their best spelling and handwriting attempts to write down the items they remember.
These activities are just a taste of some of the fun to be had whilst learning on the road. The opportunities really are endless and the learning potential is extraordinary!
At The Sunshine Collective, we have Brilliant Boxes full of activities just like these for all pre- school and primary-aged children and don’t forget, with a Custom Box, we can tailor a Brilliant Box to suit your exact needs or destination.