Let’s hit the road…
We love driving together as a family. Often our trips are just as much about the travel as they are about the destination. Sometimes we may just head out on a drive that ends up taking us nowhere in particular but becomes a day's adventure. Hitting the road lets you see much of the area you are traveling up close and provides the flexibility of stopping your the car at any time to experience the serendipitous.
Our first plane journey with kids was a twenty plus hour ordeal that involved four flights, four countries and crossing the Pacific with a one year old. Since then we have taken many flights with our kids and picked up some tips along the way.
Sometimes the best way to learn about animals is to visit with them up close and in person. While it is important to consider ethical issues with zoos and visit those that meet high standards, a visit to the zoo can be an opportunity to bring life to kids' learning. Nothing beats the moment when a kid and an animal are staring into each others eyes with mutual curiosity.
A wonderful way to get the most out of your car travels is to take in the sites that lie just beside the road. Road side attractions can be cheesy but oh so much fun. There can also be beautiful bits of nature and important historical sites just off the road. Make it a habit to stop at points of interest and viewpoints as you travel. You will be surprised by the many intriguing things you see that you might otherwise have missed.
I have also been known to throw the kids in the car and head out on a ten-hour road trip just the three of us. In all this driving time, we have developed a lot of strategies to make car travel more enjoyable for kids and adults alike.
Historical sites come in all shapes and sizes and can provide amazing opportunities for learning as a family. Many incorporate information and activities aimed at kids of varying ages. We love bringing our kids to historical sites and having a fun time exploring together. Don't hesitate to take even the youngest of kids - the immersive, often hands-on, experience of travelling back in time has something to offer for all.
Most kids love the fast paced action of the amusement park. While it may not initially come across as a destination rich in learning opportunities, the amusement park is filled with many rich STEM concepts. From the trajectories of roller coasters to the science of motion sickness, we can learn a lot at the park and have fun while doing it. Amusement parks are also an opportunity to come face to face with fear and learn to overcome it. You may not want to attempt to make your time at the amusement park too full of learning activities but by adding some thought provoking prompts before and after an amusement park outing you can open your kids eyes to the science that is all around them.
While many families happily incorporate creating art into their learning together, some are still intimidated by visiting an art gallery with kids. You may assume that art galleries are not kid friendly destinations or may be uncertain about how to approach conceptual or modern art. But worry not! Many galleries go to great lengths to engage kids and families, creating family friendly spaces and activities.
While many guides to family travel accommodations focus on the perks that some resorts and hotels offer kids we find that these are overrated. Who wants to spend time in a hotel playroom when there is a new destination to explore? In fact, what parent wants to spend time in a hotel playroom - period.