I truly believe travel is one of the best things you can do for your kids. It is why I am so passionate about helping Moms take a break from the busy and plan a vacation the whole family can enjoy. It’s all about the experience. Your children may not remember the details or the destinations but it will shape who they become. And they WILL remember the time you spent together. But I already wrote about the Benefits of Travel here so I will move on.
While we can not currently travel we can recreate some of the learning opportunities and character shaping possibilities in our own homes.
For all of those in my home state of Massachusetts, this week would have been school vacation. So many, including myself, had to cancel trips. After you allow yourself to be disappointed (yes, it is ok to be both disappointed and grateful for your safety) consider planning a day where you “visit” your planned vacation destination from home.
Here are a few ideas of what you can do:
Before I even leave home I make sure that I read up on the place we’re visiting and understand its historical significance. When I don’t do any reading before hand I find myself racing to find a book, read it and piece the places I have seen together in a historical timeline. If your children are younger, it might mean reading books to them or finding art or history books with lots of pictures that you can share and discuss. If you have independent readers, you can find age-appropriate books for them and then just leave them lying around to be discovered. Series I love include the “Horrible Histories” and “You Wouldn’t Want to Be a…” both of which take a humorous and engaging approach to teach about history. I am working on a series of activity guides and reading lists in the meantime check out my Getting Kids Excited for Ireland List.
Luckily, in this digital era many museums have put their collections online or created virtual tours that make masterpieces more accessible. Google Arts & Culture (which also has an app) has digitized the collections of numerous big museums, from the Van Gogh Museum to New York’s MOMA. The British Museum and The Lourve have some of my favorite virtual children’s programs but a quick google search will help you find a museum from your destination.
While you are learning about your destination you can’t miss the opportunity to celebrate the native language. Learn a few key phases and commit to using them during your ‘travel day.’ Only say please and thank you as you would where you were meant to be visiting. You could even commit to learning more so you can converse when you are finally able to visit Duolingo allows you to spend just a few minutes a day learning a foreign language, in a fun game style. It’s free and there’s even an app for kids.
Travel and eating are one of life’s greatest matches. To be honest, it is one of the reasons I love to travel so much, and one of my priorities when I get to my destination. Sharing a meal with a local is one of the best ways to get to the heart of a city. So what better way to celebrate your trip than by trying a new recipe. You can also take online cooking classes such as Nonna Live, where you’ll learn to make classics from an Italian grandma.
One of my favorite ways to get ready for a trip is to create a playlist inspired by my destination. But there’s no reason you can’t do it when you’re staying at home too. Did you know that Spotify has top charts for countries around the world? I also like to search for the country or city to browse and see if anything fun pops up.
Crafts are a fun way to keep children entertained while also teaching them about a culture they may not have known about. Made with Happy hosted an amazing Kids Crafts from around the World month this past March. She teamed up with many bloggers to share a new craft each weekday. That is a great place to get some inspiration.
I have also seen people:
Decorating masks in the style of Mexico’s Day of the Dead
Making a Japanese hand fan
Trying your hand at Chinese calligraphy
Creating your own Native American dreamcatcher
Building the Tower of Pisa with a cut-up paper towel roll
Recreating the art of the impressionists with paint by numbers
Your family can escape to an exciting destination from the comfort of your couch with a little movie magic. There have been so many movies that have inspired my own wanderlust over the years. Do you think Salzburg would be on my bucket list if it weren’t for the Sound of Music? Simply reverse that, look for some movies about or filmed in your destination. Travel Mamas has a great list of 15 Travel Movies for Kids. Have older kids or looking for a romantic travel date night I love this list by Full Suitcase.
You could also binge watch some travel documentaries. Many Travel Channel, PBS and BBC docuseries are now available on Netflix or Prime Video. My favorites are Rick Steeve’s Europe , Samantha Brown’s Places to Love and Somebody Feed Phil.
Who knows? You may just discover a must-do that wasn’t in your original itinerary.
Did you have an April Vacation trip that got canceled?
I would love to hear if you tried any of these activities or came up with your own.
Head over to My Facebook Page and let me know
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