The world is a big and exciting place, and you don’t have to be a certain age to enjoy everything it has to offer. However, it can be difficult to communicate that excitement to small children, especially if they remember how exhausting it is to get from one place to another. But as the world becomes increasingly global, it would be a shame if they missed out on fun and valuable travel. So whether your next holiday is national or international, here’s how to get your children excited for the adventure.
Tell them local legends –
You’re guaranteed to get your kids excited about school trips to Greece if they know the legends of Herakles, Theseus and the Minotaur, or Perseus and Medusa. Even small towns have local folktales about well-known people or places people have claimed to see fairies. Get your kids to engage with your destination by researching all the local legends of your destination and reading them as bedtime stories to count down the days to your holidays. Of course, this will only work if the stories are age appropriate.
Get an Atlas or Globe –
Visual aids are always useful for getting a point across, so you can use a globe or a kid’s Atlas to show your children there is a world out there to explore. If you’ve travelled with your children before, you can cover your globe with stickers to mark the places they have been. Show them your photographs and tell the stories of your holiday.
Next time you go on an international holiday, spin the globe and point out where you are and where you’re going. Use the Atlas to teach them more about your destination, and show them things that they might find interesting.
Coordinate with their school syllabus –
It’s difficult to get kids excited about the things they learn in school, so why not use your holidays to back up what they’ve learnt with something practical. If they’re learning a language at school, take them to a country that speaks that language so they can practise. Justify a trip to Rome by telling your kids they’ll learn more about the Romans for school. In fact, history is an easy class for travelling, because every country features in both modern and ancient history.
Get them involved in the planning –
Kids of any age will be more invested in the trip if you get them involved in the planning process. For younger kids, ask them for one or two things they want to do and have some realistic options ready from which they can pick. Older kids usually have developed interests, so present them with some options that incorporate their hobbies. A kid that is interested in animals, for example, might be happy visiting a zoo while you’re on holiday, or maybe even a boat trip that includes whale watching or snorkelling will interest them.
Host an exchange student –
Universities are open to international students, and opening up your spare room is a good way to get your kids interested in a different country and make you some extra money. While you’re helping your guest integrate themselves in your culture, ask them questions about their country, help them make an authentic meal from their home, and try to learn their language. Your kids will see you take an interest and will follow your example. As an added bonus, you might have a place to stay if you decide to visit their country in the future.
Take part in cultural events –
You might not even have to go abroad to experience a foreign culture. There a plenty of communities in big cities that gather together to host cultural festivals, celebrate holidays, and spread awareness. Take your kids to these events, and they can learn about the new culture by taking part in activities, trying the food, and watching dance and dramatic performances. The experience is a fun way to teach children that the new and different can be wonderful, rather than scary and strange. In turn, such happy experiences build curiosity and appetite for other cross-cultural experiences and adventures.
Give them a camera –
While you might not want them to look after your camera phone for you, taking pictures is a fun way to encourage kids to interact with their surroundings. If they have their own (child-proof) camera, they can have free reign over which pictures they take, and you can watch as they take an interest in their new surroundings.
So, will you be going on an adventure with your little one/s?