Travel offers the potential for a sensory feast. On your next trip, encourage family members to do more than just see the sights. Here are five ways to deepen the experience:
- What do you smell? Farmers markets, street fairs, carnivals, sulfur hot springs, a pine forest and fragrant rose gardens all offer an opportunity to sniff something special. Talk with the kids about which aromas they like or would rather pass by quickly. Do certain aromas evoke a memory from a previous experience? Notice how different members of your family respond.
- What do you hear? Throughout your trip, encourage the kids to close their eyes and tune in. Is that the whistle of a train in the distance? Listen intently to the traffic noise in the city, waves crashing on a rocky shoreline or an unfamiliar bird chirping in the rainforest. Take note of the street musicians performing in a language not your own.
- How does it feel? Leaving the comfort of home can evoke a range of emotions spanning from excitement and anticipation to anxiety and uncertainty. From the topsy-turvy thrill created by riding a roller coaster to the sensation of that first step into an unfamiliar landscape, each member of your family is bound to feel something new. Who feels tired? Or hungry? Or even homesick? Talk about it.
- Can I touch? From petting zoos and tide pools to dolphin encounters and turtle sanctuaries, travel offers your family the opportunity to reach for the unexpected. Discuss the options ahead of time, particularly when young children are on board. Spiny cactus might look interesting, but close contact isn't advised.
- Taste it. Travel provides the ideal opportunity to encourage kids to expand their culinary range. Talk about the origins of different ingredients and why many are unique to different regions of the world. Seek out small, local establishments where it might be possible to learn about food preparation or even talk with the chef or proprietor. From curry and coconut to bok choy and barbecue sauce, there is a story to accompany every flavor you'll sample.