Depending on where you live, school either just started or is about to. Kids are excited (or anxious) about a new year of learning, and parents are excited about not having to plan daily activities. But soon enough, once the exhaustion wears off, you’ll miss having the kids around. It’s not too early to start thinking about the next school break and ways to spend some quality time together. The learning doesn’t have to stop when kids leave the classroom, and there are great ways to show them the world that are both fun and educational.
A day at the museum
Kids and museums? This must be a joke, right? It’s not, you just have to find the right tour tailored to them. The Louvre might seem a lot more interesting to kids if they’re on a treasure hunt while they explore, or solving riddles presented by the museum’s most famous works of art (just two of the tours offered by Virtuoso-preferred Family Twist). Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, features a replica of the International Space Station kids can walk through and robots to interact with. Children are the subject of many famous artworks. Context Travel’s Prado tour for kids in Madrid highlights some such as Las Meninas and the Holy Family, led by an art historian trained to engage children.
One of the biggest obstacles to kids appreciating a tour is they’re hungry. When food is the focus of the tour, they are in. Travelive’s Athens food tour for kids visits the Greek capital’s vibrant central market, stopping at stalls featuring authentic delicacies that introduce some of the most important elements of Greek culture. A blind tasting game lets them try to guess which treats they’re snacking on, and of course the whole thing ends with lunch. Context’s Barcelona Gothic Quarter tour for kids ends at the Boqueria, Barcelona’s most famous market, for a well-deserved snack. The food’s always better when you make it yourself, right? A cooking class – especially making pizza, pasta or dessert, the main food groups – is a great way to get kids involved hands-on and feed them.
All about animals
Parents have seen it just about from Day One: Kids love animals. So why not plan your whole trip around wildlife? Big Five Tours & Expeditions, which has its own Kids Kouncil that approves itineraries, offers several. Especially epic is an India journey that includes learning about tiger conservation, identifying birds and feeding rescue elephants. There’s also a puppet workshop so kids make their own keepsake. Any safari will show off loads of animals, but Kenya’s Giraffe Manor takes it a step further, with giraffes roaming the hotel grounds and popping their heads into the breakfast room looking for a treat.
Your choice of lodging is very important. That’s what you and the kids will be spending more time than anywhere else, where you’ll lay your head at night as your home away from home. SO if the hotel offers a little something extra for the kids, all the better. Rhode Island’s Ocean House offers pizza, chocolate and baking lessons and teaches kids about farm-to-table dining in the herb garden. The Four Seasons Lanai’s Kids for All Seasons program focuses on the unique culture, flora and fauna of the island, including talking story with the resident aviarist and a ranching experience with mimi horses, donkeys and goats. Steps away from the home of the Cannes Film Festival, Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic features a filmmaking experience that ends with kids screening the short movies they created. Rome’s Hotel Hassler offers kids the chance to go to gladiator school.