The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family
It takes a lot of work to get ready for a family trip, even if you have a Small World BIG FUN Travel Advisor taking care of all the details for you. Choosing the right places and activities, all while trying to maintain some semblance of your normal routine, especially during the holidays, can be a real challenge.
In the hectic pace of everything, it can be easy to forget the bigger reasons families choose to travel with their children: to enrich their lives, expand their emotional and cultural horizons, and help them become better global citizens.
So it’s great to encourage kids to be involved in the planning and to participate in family activities — but what are some ways that you can really get your child curious about your travel destinations without adding yet another list of to-dos to a parent’s already-long list?
Here are some ideas for sparking the love of travel in your child on your next vacation:
Use a travel journal
If your child likes to write or draw, this can be both a wonderful way to document experiences and a way for kids to have alone time if they need it, or wind-down time in the evening before bed. Set aside even just 10 minutes for them to write down or doodle something from the day. A journal can be used before leaving, too — it can be a place where a child documents questions she has about where you’re going, things she wants to learn, a place to glue in pictures of places she wants to see, things she’s excited to try.
Use photography as a way to help them pay attention
For a kid who loves photography, the lens can be an excellent way to help ignite curiosity and help them be present to the travel experience. For younger children especially, an inexpensive disposable camera works just great and can make them feel very grown up; older children might have access to a simple digital camera or a phone with a built-in camera. They might choose to just photograph whatever strikes their interest, and that’s fine — but they can also decide ahead of time to keep an eye out for something specific: interesting flowers, unique doorways, motorcycles or scooters they like, desserts, street signs, gardens, markets, sunsets. Being aware of and respecting cultural etiquette around taking photographs, of course, there are tons of incredible creative opportunities. This can be a wonderful way for a child to discover a new interest he didn’t even know he had.
Use the power of compare and contrast to sharpen curiosity, create awareness, and start good conversations
Have as a goal each day — and this can be something the whole family can do — to note one thing that’s similar to what you do at home, and one thing that’s different from what you do at home. Do kids play similar games? Eat different foods? Drive the same cars? Wear the same kids of clothes? Listen to different music? Have the same kinds of pets? In addition to observing similarities and differences, talk to them about their thoughts around what they’re noticing. What questions come up? What’s comfortable for them, and what feels totally unfamiliar? Do they see things that they wish kids did more of back home? This can be a powerful tool for kids to be present to what’s happening around them, and can help them process the culture shock that can accompany the newness of various environments, as well. It can be a way for you to get to know them better, and it can be a way for them to understand more about themselves, too.
Traveling with your children provides a one-of-a-kind educational experience for them, and a powerful bonding experience for the whole family. The team at Small World BIG FUN would love to help you design the perfect travel experience for your family. Let’s get started today to plan your family’s next great adventure.