Updated: November 15, 2015 11:16:58 am
“Once a year, go someplace you haven’t been before”. — The Dalai Lama
Most people underestimate the impact that travel can have one one’s life. In fact, it is said that travel is actually the best form of education, and what better way to make sure your kids get the best education that life has to offer than take them out of the four walls of the classroom and let them free to experience the world. From meeting new people to interacting with foreign cultures, these are the opportunities to teach them something without them realising it.
So, in that spirit, here are 10 trips, in our view, that every child should take.
1. Call of the wild: There is no better way to teach your kids how to respect nature and their environment than placing them in the lap of nature. Not only will they learn about nature, you can also teach them about life skills like medicinal trees and camping gear. Go to one of India’s many natural reserves — Ranthambore, Kaziranga, Sunderbans — and hike across the forest.
2. Play with snow: Which kid doesn’t like to carefully construct a snowball only to smash it across someone’s face. Okay, there is an element of danger involved, but every kid remembers their first snowfall, and it’s a memory to cherish. Also, once they grow up, etiquette may not allow for a snow-fight, and that’s one experience every kid is entitled to.
3. Learn about Culture: There is no dearth of festivals in India. Every month has its own fair share, with some days presenting several opportunties depending on which part of the country you are. Visiting a different state or city with a culture different from yours during their local festival is immensely exciting, and a great way to learn about tradition and culture of a community other than yours. Visit Pushkar in November for the fair, or do Christmas in Goa or Kerala, or even Navratri in Gujarat. Not only will you have loads of fun, but your child’s life will be enriched by all that he/she learns from the experience and interaction.
4. History is fun when you live it: This is a perfect example of how history can be made fun. Simply take the kids outside the classroom and the book pages, and bring them in the presence of the very monuments they learn about. You’ll find that their retention of the history lessons will be a lot more when they actually see where those grandiose events took place. Be sure to rent audio guides, or official guides whenever you can, for just that extra bit of information.
5. Take the road less travelled: Instil a sense of adventure in your child by taking them on a trip others would usually not go for. Not only would this give them exciting stories to tell their friends, but also teach them to go against the grain while they’re young. This is also a great way to teach them about the precautions one should take while taking a risk. And imagine their joy when they write their next essay on their first ride on a yak in Sikkim, while others wrote about a trip to the zoo!
6. The sky is the limit: Nowadays, a flight is pretty much de rigueur for many kids, but a hot air balloon ride has a charm known to very few. Several spots in Rajasthan (Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, etc.) and Hampi offer hot-air ballooning across the year.
7. Follow your star: This is a rather whimsical option, but imagine following the Indian cricket team when the World Cup is on, or your favourite msuic band on tour. These are great opportunities to share something you love with your kid while making memories on the road. It might turn out to be their favourite star as well, or maybe the memory will just be enough.
8. The great train ride: Flights may be great for saving time on long journeys, but there is a case to be made for when the journey is the destination. A train ride may take thrice the time, but the experience of watching the landscape go past, the chai and chips vendors calling out, the stopping stations — both quaint and bustling, is one that stays for life. It’s similar to a road trip, just on rails. Of course, if you can manage one on either of India’s heritage toy trains — through Darjeeling and Shimla — there’s nothing like it.
9. One fine day: Steal a day away from your hectic schedules and give your kids a break from school. Even a day out, whether you drive down or take a bus, with a picnic spread and fun games, or to the museum or an amusement park can be as much fun.
10. Get those feet wet: You’ve hit the mountains with the snow, and now explore the vast expanse of the ocean. The Indian peninsula has many gorgeous beaches to choose from, and children usually love the water. Put those swimming lessons to use or even give an impromptu one right there. Imagine if your child said s/he learnt to swim in the Arabian See. How cool is that! Oh, and how can we forget the sand castles!
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