Travelling with kids is a great way to expose them to new and exciting things while creating lifelong memories. We recommend the following travel experiences before kids grow up because they are not only fun, but also build confidence and educate kids about different cultures and environmental issues. From getting to see how other people live, to witnessing unique ecosystems and wildlife around the world, travel opens up a whole new world to kids. You never know which experiences might end up shaping their values and future ambitions!
1. See animals in the wild
Why: Wild animals are mysterious and exciting, and seeing them in their natural habitat encourages curiosity, adventure, and education. As children learn about endangered species and the threats that animals face, they can also be introduced to valiant preservation efforts around the world. Experiences like this create incredible memories and can have a lasting impact on the person they become.
2. Make a friend who speaks a different language
Why: Luckily, kids speak the language of fun. When they have the opportunity to interact with children who speak a different language, they are inherently aware of the cultural differences (and similarities!) that exist between them. Kids also pick up languages very easily, so who knows, they might return bilingual!
Where: See our full list of destinations for ideas
3. Visit a local market
Why: Walking through a local supermarket or open-air market abroad gives kids the chance to immerse themselves in the daily life of that community. They will likely see many things that are not available at their local supermarket and experience a way of life that is different to what they are used to. It also allows a chance to hear the local language, communicate with people, and try exotic fruit and veg. Maybe they will find their new favourite food!
4. Take a cooking class
Why: We’ve mentioned it before…this is a great activity for picky eaters! Kids are more willing to try new foods when they have a hand in helping with the cooking. Sign up for a fun class where you can explore the markets for fresh produce and then learn how to cook the local cuisine. Afterwards, your little chefs can enjoy the feast they have created.
5. Learn to convert currency
Why: Not only is foreign money a shiny, new trinket to observe and learn about, but suddenly maths become fun when you give kids a bit of foreign pocket money. They might wonder how it compares to money back home. Is a bag of fried grasshoppers the same price as a bar of chocolate? This is a great introduction to explaining foreign currency and economics to kids.
Where: See our full list of destinations for ideas
6. Visit a jungle or rainforest
Why: Like many of the activities on this list, rainforests allow kids to connect with nature and practice the power of patience and observation. You never know what you might encounter on a walk through a rainforest. It’s the ultimate treasure hunt, in search of frogs, monkeys, parrots, sloths and exotic flowers and plants. Rainforests also provide an endless opportunity for learning about biodiversity, wildlife and environmental issues such as deforestation and endangered species.
7. Learn to surf
Why: Surfing feels like the ultimate balancing act. This is why it’s the perfect activity to help develop a child’s coordination. It can also build confidence and patience. Our favourite reason to introduce kids to surfing is to develop respect and love for nature and the ocean. If your child becomes a surfer, they might feel more invested in beaches and other public lands.
8. Eat Italian food in Italy
Why: You’d be hard-pressed to find a child who doesn’t like pizza and pasta. Giving them a taste of the real deal seems like a right of passage that no child should miss. And we can’t forget about the gelato. I think everyone can agree that gelato eaten in a sunny, Italian piazza tastes better than gelato eaten in any other country. Authentic Italian food is a culinary experience that every mini-foodie shouldn’t miss.
Where: See our Puglia itinerary
9. Stargaze in the desert
Why: Unique experiences stick in a child’s memory like no other, and kids find the vastness of the desert extremely fascinating. Much more than a giant sandbox, a desert safari offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to share as a family. ‘Glamping’ in the desert and stargazing next to a campfire is a must-do for all adventurous family travellers.
10. Hike in a National Park
Why: If you want to raise kids to appreciate an active lifestyle, have a love of nature and an interest in preservation, take them to a national park and explain to them why it’s so special. Rather than just a beautiful place to go for a walk, National Parks protect the best of a destination’s landscape, wildlife and forests.
11. Build a sandcastle on a tropical beach
Why: Although we have some lovely sandy beaches dotted around the UK, there’s nothing quite like building the sandcastle of your dreams under the sway of tropical palm trees. Rolling around in the warm, salty seawater to wash off the fine, sugary sand is part of the fun too. Tropical beaches provide a great introduction to the concepts of latitude, longitude and climates around the world. Just don’t forget the sun cream!
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