Kids aren’t great at doing nothing. Take a look at your first event-free weekend. No soccer game, birthday party or backyard project in sight. It’s your first lazy day… made for sleeping in. However, as soon as breakfast is finished, the kids start getting antsy. That’s probably not going to change on vacation either.
Vacationing or traveling is an excellent opportunity for kids to learn about themselves and discover the world at large. Kids can explore whether or not they are adventuresome or whether or not they love to hike, swim or try new foods. Traveling is the perfect time for them to grow, learn, and experience new things.
As you think about your next vacation with your kids here are three things to include when planning to help make your vacation more enjoyable for everyone.
Plan Something Outdoors
Whether it is taking the kids for a swim or out to discover a new park, get them outside. Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air and outdoor activity. In many of the large cities, you can take advantage of playgrounds or sprinkler parks. If those aren’t available to you, think about trekking to the local farmer’s market or go for a hike. Doing something outside will burn up some energy, and elevate everyone’s mood. Planning an activity outdoors expands a child’s creativity and reminds them the world is bigger than themselves.
Plan Something Cultural
Give them a new perspective. As adults, we know that one of the best reasons to travel is to broaden our minds and give us a fresh perspective. Exposing your children to new customs, cultures, and cuisines will help them have a better understanding of the world. It can also teach them empathy, compassion, and gratitude. Take in a museum, cultural center or event. Whether you are checking out a Pow-Wow in Montana or Sumo Wrestling in Japan, cultural activities are educational and exciting. In Greece, they may see fishermen hanging octopuses to dry in the sun. In New Zealand, they may witness the Māori perform a Haka. Cultural exposure help kids appreciate the nuances of a different place and people. If you are exploring your roots in another country, kids can cultivate a better understanding of their unique family history and the customs of their ancestors. Make sure to give them time to wander around and explore. It’s the perfect occasion to engage and indulge their natural curiosity.
Plan Something Delicious
Who doesn’t love a tasty treat? Most kids will try most foods at least once. (It might take a double-dog-dare!) Exposing them to new foods will help them develop a more sophisticated palate, especially if you start young. They will learn that there is more to food than french fries and chicken nuggets. We used to make a specific point of exposing our daughter to native foods when she was young. We wouldn’t even let her order American food at a Chinese restaurant. She’s eaten octopus, squid, and snails. She may have not liked everything, but at least she was given the chance experience it once.
Traveling with kids isn’t always easy, but it’s an opportunity to learn new things, make new memories and build confidence. It’s also a terrific time to teach your kids to disconnect with their devices and be in the moment. After all, life (or traveling) is not meant to be a spectator sport.
Tell us why you love traveling with your kids in the comments below!