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Disney World is fun for the whole family. But, can it be educational too? How much can your kids really learn at a theme park? Believe it or not, they can actually learn quite a bit! There are unlimited ways you can teach your kids at Disney World. Here, I’ll show you tips for teaching your kids academic lessons on your trip. But, you can also teach them life lessons too. So, let’s get to the tips for teaching your kids at Disney World.
In my opinion, reading is the easiest thing to teach your children at Disney. There are just so many opportunities. You can’t walk two feet at Disney World without seeing a chance to practice reading. And, the best part of teaching your kids at Disney World is they will have fun doing it! Here are some of the easy ways to teach reading at Disney.
Maps and Times Guides
Every Disney park has its own map and times guide. These are a great tool to practice reading skills. Give your child a map and have them to find their way from one attraction to another. Hand them a times guide and ask where and when a particular character is meeting. Tell your little one they can pick the next attraction if they can find it on the map. Your kids won’t even realize that they are reading!
Have your kids pay attention to the signs for the Disney buses, as well as those at the docks and monorail stations. Ask them which bus you need to get on to get where you’re going. They will gain so much confidence from being able to navigate their way around the World that they will start reading the transportation signs without even being asked! If your children are anything like mine, they will be reading road signs even after you return home!
Another really easy way to teach your children to read is by having them read the various attraction and restaurant signs as you walk through the parks. If they are looking forward to a particular ride, they will happily read the signs to find it. An added benefit of this technique is it will help them learn their way around the parks.
While it is a little more difficult to teach math at Disney World, it can be done. Here are a few tips.
Take a break from the parks one day and play miniature golf at either Winter Summerland or Fantasia Gardens. Have your child keep score. When your round of golf is over, have your kid tally up the scores and determine the winner. This is a great way to practice addition and subtraction. My son loves practicing his Disney math at mini golf!
While waiting in line for a ride, use the My Disney Experience app to show your kids the wait times. Have them calculate what time you will get on the ride based on the posted wait times. If you have a dining reservation coming up, have your young Disney fan determine whether you have enough time to ride a nearby attraction before your reservation given the current wait times.
The most obvious places to give your kids a lesson on American history while at Disney World is at Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom or American Adventure in Epcot. Both will teach them something about American history.
While these two attractions are the most obvious American history lessons, there are others, especially in Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom. For example, check out the replica of the Liberty Bell. The architecture of the buildings in this area are all reminiscent of the early days of our country. Watch the “Muppets Present . . . Great Moments in American History.” Have a meal at Liberty Tree Tavern for yet another history lesson.
Geography and Culture
Your kids can learn a whole year’s worth of geography and culture in World Showcase in Epcot. Each of the pavilions in World Showcase is filled with opportunities to learn about each respective country and its people. Have your kids to talk to the cast members, who are natives from each country. They can teach your children what life is like back at home. Each pavilion also has restaurants where your kids can taste the flavors of that region. In Canada, France, and China, your kids can watch a movie about those nations. In some of the other countries, your children can experience some of the native art.
Teaching your kids at Disney World is easy to do in the Animal Kingdom. Visit the Africa and Asia areas of the park to teach your kids about the geography and culture of these two continents. Like with World Showcase, you can find cast members to talk to, restaurants featuring food from those areas, and art to appreciate. After spending some time in these areas, you will be amazed at what your kids learn. Both of these lands are intricately themed to give you an authentic feel of the respective continent.
Animals and Conservation
Animal Kingdom is built on a foundation of teaching the importance of animals and conservation, but some areas are better at teaching these lessons than others.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
A great place for teaching your kids at Disney World is Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Here, they can learn about protecting the environment and animals. Your kids can talk to cast members about animal nutrition, veterinary medicine, ways they can protect the environment in their own backyard, and many other things. My son learned how zookeepers examine the animals’ poop to learn about their health. We love making the trek out to Rafiki’s. For a more in-depth look at elephants, consider taking the Caring for Giants tour. To learn more about rhinos, look at the Up Close with Rhinos tour.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek
Both of the walking trails in Animal Kingdom are great places for learning. Along each path, your kids can learn about various animals. Cast members stationed throughout the trails will talk to your kids about the animals. This is a great way for your kids to learn about animals in a very up close way.
One particular area where this is especially well done is the bat enclosure on the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Not only do kids get the chance to see bats up close, but the cast members can teach them a wealth of information about the bats.
If your kids are young, sign them up to be Wilderness Explorers with Russell from UP. It’s amazing all the things they will learn in their quest to get the various badges. The lessons range from animals and environmental conservation to African and Asian cultures, communication, and dinosaurs. It’s a whole pile of lessons wrapped up in one small book! My son did it and loved it!
While in Animal Kingdom, wander over to Dinoland USA for some education on dinosaurs. There are several places in this area where you can find exhibits, dinosaur bones, and cast members willing to teach kids about them. If your child is interested in dinosaurs, you may have a hard time dragging them out of here! In the Boneyard, your kids can actually participate in a dinosaur dig. Talk about having fun while learning!
If you want to teach your kids about where their food comes from and agriculture, just head over to the Land pavilion in Epcot’s Future World. Riding Living with the Land will give you a good overview of new technologies being used to feed the world’s people. For more information, take the Behind the Seeds Tour, which takes you inside Disney’s greenhouses and gives you more in depth information about agriculture. Anyone interested in farming or gardening will enjoy this tour.
There are so many opportunities for teaching your kids at Disney World! With this list, you can give your children a semester’s worth of lessons in one week. Disney World is the perfect place to make learning fun for kids. For more tips on visiting Disney World with kids, see how to go without a stroller, how to prevent meltdowns, prepping your kids for Disney World, and magical must-do’s for kids. For help planning your trip, see my step-by-step guide, quick tips for planning, and the best resources for planning your trip. Happy travels!