There seems to be a new trend in Family Travel and I love it! It’s Education! Parents of this generation see travel as an opportunity to provide their children with an education they can’t get in school. I am excited about the topic of Educational Family Travel because I believe that the insight and education we can acquire from travel is meaningful and enduring in the minds of our children.
I have a number of tips for engaging your children while visiting your destination:
1. Before your visit, search the local library database, for fiction books that take place at your destination, either past or present. Tales of adventures in a foreign destination will spark the imagination of your child and create interest in the location.
2. Involve your children in your family travel planning choices. I would recommend picking 3 or 4 destinations of choice and collecting some information about each one. Let your children take a look and tell you what they think looks interesting about each one. You can even let them have the final pick on which one you go to. Once they’ve traveled a few times, and done ‘educational trips’ they will likely be more enthusiastic about future trips.
3. If your child has specific interests, try to combine them with the activity. For example, if he loves food, get him excited about the traditional food available at your destination. If she loves Soccer, bring along a ball to play with in the park after the visit and invite some local children to join in.
4. Make time for play and creativity during the visit. If they like to draw, bring crayons and a small art supply kit along, so that they can draw what they see. For younger children, you can bring play-doh and they can sculpt.
5. Music makes the world go round! If you plan to rent a car, find international music, appropriate for your destination on itunes and bring along a CD or i-pod adaptor for the car. Older children and teens can choose their own music for the personal stereos or MP3 players.
And most importantly!
6. Make a game out of it. Make the trip a scavenger hunt! I have created a the ‘Amazing Family Race‘ for My Little Travel Bug. Once you know your destination, you can add some more specific challenges to the list. They can be designed so that your children will need to research, learn and observe while they are away, to be able to complete the list.
I hope these tips are helpful! If you have specific destinations in mind which you would like me to provide advice on activities etc, I’d be happy to help.