There are various different types of family vacations, ranging from a tour of the different theme parks, to a trip to stay in a log wood cabin in the mountains somewhere, in order to get closer to nature, or journey to stay by the seaside with grandparents.
Out of all the different types of family vacation that are worth doing, it’d be a major mistake to under-rate or forget about the classic educational day out, where you get to expose your young ones — and yourself, for that matter — to deep treasure troves of information about the world at large, in addition to a greater appreciation of the cornerstones that make up your culture, or the culture of the place you’re visiting.
So, without further ado, here are some educational experiences you can enjoy on your next family road trip or day out.
Attend the theatre
If your kids are anything like the majority of children out there, they no doubt love the cinema and will watch the latest kids’ action or adventure films with mouth agape, and will cry tears of laughter at the comedies.
The thing about films, however, is that they’re pretty artificial and, these days, are also pretty much ubiquitous. Anywhere you could care to turn at any given moment, you’ll find a TV showing the latest films or series’, and even if you don’t have a TV license, you’ve probably got an over-used Netflix subscription — which, of course, has a selection of kids shows and movies, too.
Taking your kids on a family trip to the theatre, on the other hand, can be a fresh and deeply engaging experience. Instead of watching the action take place through a screen, where crafty camera work and digital environments clearly distinguish the events from the real world, the action in a play takes place right in front of you. You and the actors both occupy the same space.
The entire atmosphere of a theatre is different from that of a cinema, and whenever you have the chance, it’s well worth taking your kids to see some of the most popular plays and musicals on offer — just as long as they’re age-appropriate.
Visit the local museums
Museums are an eternal classic when it comes to family days out, and for good reason, too.
While all sorts of child-focused attractions may become fundamentally boring for the adults in the vicinity, after a while, museums offer something for people of all ages.
A grown-up can be just as enraptured by the sight of a reconstructed dinosaur skeleton as a young child can, and while the child may mostly be interested in the appearance of the skeleton itself, the parent may enjoy reading the details of the particular find.
Museums are also inherently educational, by their very nature, but they’re educational in a direct kind of way that children are more likely to find fascinating and uplifting than an extra hour in their pre-school or school classroom.
Meteorite fragments fallen from the stars, the remains of long-extinct animals, cultural artefacts from the other side of the globe, or elements of local history can all be found represented in museums.
Take a trip to the planetarium
Planetariums are often attached to museums, but may be found independently as well. If your child has a particular interest in space, or the constellations, a planetarium is likely to be the ideal thing to do on a day out, but even if they’re not, it’s bound to get their attention.
A planetarium typically works by having a complicated looking bit of machinery project various displays onto the inside of a domed ceiling, while the viewers recline back in comfy chairs and stare at the display as it unfolds.
Planetarium displays may teach about the life-cycles of stars, the make-up of black holes, the sequence of the big bang, or the different constellations seen in the night sky and some of the myths that have historically been associated with them.
In practice, a planetarium will tend to include several if not all of these features, in such a way as to captivate those who are watching the performance unfold, and make them feel as though they’re on a true journey through the stars.
A planetarium has the potential to be both immensely entertaining, and extremely educational. Don’t be surprised if, after a trip to one, your kids express a desire to become astronauts.