5 Unlikely travel destinations to make the world your child’s classroom
theAsianparent have partnered with Holiday Inn<sup>®</sup> to inspire your next family adventure, and to show you that travelling with kids for learning is possible!
Mums and dads, wouldn’t it be amazing if all your child’s school text books could miraculously be brought to life? Just imagine – your kid opens their Biology book and out waddles a wombat from Australia! Or they turn a page of their Mathematics book and the perfectly symmetrical Taj Mahal majestically rises out.
It sounds incredible yet impossible, right? Actually, not quite. The world can be your child’s classroom… through travel!
We’re going to let you in on some secrets that will open your eyes to the endless range of learning opportunities that are available as you travel with your kids. We also suggest 5 perfect destinations that will enrich your child’s life through knowledge, fun and family bonding, in a way you never imagined.
5 delightful destinations for fun and learning through travel!
1. Australia, where biology bounces to life
The Land Down Under is home to some of the most unique animals in the world. Only here will your kids see and learn about marvellous marsupials and monotremes.
The former are animals such as kangaroos who give birth to a partially-formed embryo and then, nurture it in a special furry pouch located on mummy’s tummy! The latter, are fascinating egg-laying mammals that also suckle their young – such as the echidna. Adding to this list of unique animals are the arboreal, eucalyptus-chewing koalas and cute, tubby wombats!
In preparation for this real-life Aussie Biology lesson, encourage your kids to make a list of their favourite Australian animals, and then help them research on habits and habitats.
You could also explain to them how animals’ physical features evolve over time to suit the environment they live in. For example, inhabitants of colder climates will have a warm ‘undercoat’, and creatures of the Australian desert like lizards and snakes have clever tricks built into their bodies for protection against the sun, such as heat-reflecting scales!
Following all this research, watch your kids’ little faces light up with wonder when they see these animals for real. You’ll be amazed by just how much your child already knows about these creatures!
- Stay in Perth and visit the Cohunu Koala Park for a glimpse of these iconic cuddly creatures huddled up in furry balls on gum trees.
- This region is known for its incredible produce and wines. Mum and dad should make the most of the wineries here, while young gourmands can expand their palates with fresh fruit, cheese and more!
- To see even more Aussie wildlife, hop on the famous Ghan Train Service with your family and travel to tropical Darwin. This is also the gateway to the incredible Great Barrier Reef, which stretches more than 2,000km along the Queensland coastline.
- The locomotive starts in Adelaide and ends up in Darwin. Test your child’s maths skills by asking them to guess how many kilometres long that is (2,979km)!
- Remember that Australian seasons are also ‘Down Under’! So in December you’ll experience hot weather (winter in other countries) and in June, you’ll be freezing cold (summer elsewhere). Pack and plan accordingly!
2. India, for larger-than-life mathematical principles
Did you know that the concept of 0 (shunya in Sanskrit or zero in English) was first invented in third century India?
If you go across India, you will find many monuments that are a testament to mathematical principles both simple and complex – from the perfect symmetry that makes the Taj Mahal so striking, to Jaipur’s geometric wonder, the Palace of Mirrors. The walls of the latter are decorated with intricate mosaics designed out of thousands of minute mirrors, earning this dazzling palace its name.
While visiting attractions such as these, encourage your child to observe the beauty in straight lines and curves, and ask them to point out the various shapes they see. Head to the capital city, New Delhi, and bring your kids to the Jantar Mantar Observatory for an unbeatable lesson in Mathematics and Astronomy from centuries ago!
Tell your kids that the name “Jantar Mantar” itself means “calculation instrument”. At this stunning site, you’ll find a collection of thirteen astronomical instruments in a complex that is over three centuries old!
You can also show your family the Samrat Yantra, or the Supreme Instrument, which is a staggering 27 metres high and one of the world’s largest sundials. Teach them how to tell the time by looking at shadows cast by the sun, and explain to your little ones that the technology of this ancient gadget has basically stayed the same for hundreds of years.
- Bring an analogue watch with you for your visit to Jantar Mantar and start the day by teaching your little one how to read the time from your watch.
- You can easily get to this location via Delhi’s hop on hop off bus service. Click this link for timings and more details.
- As always, bring plenty of snacks and water for your little ones.
- When you return home, see if they remember how to read the analogue watch or tell the time by the distance of the shadows. It’s a fun ‘game’ that reinforces the learning they had earlier!
3. Singapore, for state-of-the-art engineering and classical architecture
Kids who live in big cities become acclimatized to the impressive buildings they see on a day-to-day basis. If you grew up in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, you will likely not find the Canadian National (CN) Tower very impressive! So how do you make engineering exciting for your little one?
The best way to do this is to highlight how architectural styles change over time and by location – Singapore is perfect for this. On this little island you’ll find modern marvels of design as well as quaint and colourful old-school buildings blending harmoniously together to form the city skyline.
To view the best of both worlds and expose your child to these gorgeous examples of new and old architecture, first head to the viewing deck at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) where the sparkling city unfolds beneath you.
Ask your kids to imagine what kind of problems the architects of MBS faced and learn together about how these problems were addressed and solved. Some of the most interesting aspects of the Marina Bay integrated resort are its immense infinity pool and curved towers.
Follow up your MBS visit with a stroll around Singapore’s Civic District. Take in the hallmarks of colonial architecture that are showcased by some of the island’s most iconic buildings, including Raffles Hotel and the Old City Hall Building (now a redesigned museum).
Ask your little one to compare and contrast the two styles of buildings (old and new) and identify the differences.
- Singapore is full of stunning locations to take we-fies with the family. The view from the top of MBS probably takes first place among these spots!
- While you are there, don’t miss out on a visit to the gorgeous Gardens by the Bay which houses a range of exotic plants. The Flower Dome and Cloud Dome are perfect for budding botanists to hone their knowledge.
- Stay at Gardens by the Bay until evening. This is when the ‘Super Trees’ are lit up in sparkling rainbow colours, providing a magical visual treat (and lots of Insta-worthy moments) for your family.
- Give your child a GoPro so they can record the whole adventure!
4. The Dead Sea, for some crazy Chemistry
We know what you’re thinking: is it really possible to teach kids science while on holiday? We think so! Head to Jordan for a visit to the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea.
Your curious explorer will want to know for sure why it is called The Dead Sea. The answer is pretty simple – it’s because everything in it, from plants to fish, is dead!
And if they ask you even more questions (“but Mummy, WHY are the plants and animals dead?”), then tell them that this is because of the very high concentration of salt in the Dead Sea, which is 8.5 times more than that of the ocean! And as you float effortlessly in the water, weave in a lesson or two on density.
- The Dead Sea’s water is extremely salty, so any sores, cuts or minor wounds should be protected by waterproof bandages. Else, they’ll sting badly.
- There are rocks on the bottom of the Dead Sea, so watch your step in the water. Wearing water shoes can be a good idea, especially for kids.
- If your kids love to jump and splash around, have them wear goggles, so they don’t get water in their eyes.
- A kid-friendly hotel in the area is Holiday Inn Resort® Dead Sea.
5. South Korea, for Physics through physical activity and fun
Skiing and physics somehow don’t seem to have a direct connection to each other. But, when you hit the snowy slopes in South Korea, you’ll see the link bright and clear! As your child is hurtling down the slopes at a ski resort in Pyeongchang, whooping with delight, they’re learning all about gravity, friction and velocity.
When your little one exclaims, “It’s not fair, because Daddy went down the hill faster than me!”, use the opportunity to explain how someone heavy will move down a slope faster than a lighter person because of the pull of gravity.
And if your curious little one also asks you how it is possible to glide on snow, give them a little lesson about pressure and friction: the pressure a ski applies makes the snow under it melt, reducing the friction and helping the ski to glide easily!
Experiencing snow for the first time is also a great sensorial experience for your kids. Ask them to describe what it feels like when a snowflake falls on their face. Tell them to close their eyes and imagine how it would feel if the sun was shining on their skin instead. Then, encourage them to compare the two sensations!
Don’t forget to throw in some fun family bonding by building Olaf (from “Frozen”) together! Did you ever think all these lessons could be learned from a simple visit to snow-slopes?!
- Skiing is very popular in the South Korean winter, so finding a resort should not be a problem. Look for one with kid-friendly facilities and close to the slopes.
- Clothes and ski equipment are available for hire and many resorts have English speaking instructors.
- Remember to bring snow goggles to prepare for sunny days. When the sun reflects off the snow, it can be blinding!
Do you now see how learning can almost magically be brought to life through travel with kids? We hope your next family holiday is packed with lots of laughter, learning and love!
This article was brought to you by Holiday Inn®. Explore more family travel tips and inspiring itineraries for your kids at www.LittleBigTravellers.com. At 1,200 Holiday Inn® Hotels and Holiday Inn Resorts®, kids 12 and under stay and eat for free! Discover the Joy of Travel with Holiday Inn® today.