First published by theAsianparent
Childhood is the time when our senses develop and we absorb all types of information. That is why parents have always emphasised the importance of learning whilst we are young.
Now, we do the same with our kids as they go through their critical development years. But learning shouldn’t always be about sitting in a classroom, following a syllabus, or taking up so many extracurricular activities that it fills up every waking hour of the day.
No, learning is so much more than that… Learning is about developing a sense for the world and how our mind and body connect to the world around us. Our kids deserve that experience - and we parents deserve a nice holiday!
So whenever you are in a new destination, be sure to point out to your kids the various ways they can explore the destination with their 5 senses. Get them to SEE, TOUCH, HEAR, TASTE and SMELL while traveling in trending new places across our neighbouring Australasia and the Middle East.
1. Get them to feel the snow in Hokkaido
Hokkaido will be an extraordinary experience for the whole family, especially during winter with its famed powdery snow and rich Japanese cuisine that is even more enjoyable when the weather outside is chilly. Get your kids to see the majestic snow slopes and touch the pure powdery snow that cannot be experienced outside of Hokkaido. If they love outdoor activities, get them on some skis or a snowboard too! Just be sure to book your accommodation early as it is a popular destination for many during winter.
2. Visit the Tangkuban Perahu Volcano and experience the smell of sulfur
There are a few dormant volcanoes that are safe to visit and one of them is in Bandung, Indonesia. Just a short flight away from Singapore, your kids can experience a live volcano, seeing one of the wonders of nature in real life. Be prepared for the strong smell of sulphuric gases being released from the volcanic magma - a unique and memorable volcanic experience for the little ones. Bandung is also steeped in mixed cultures from early Dutch settlers, making it a great place to learn about history and taste different flavours. It also makes for a great shopping spot for parents!
3. See and appreciate the intricate temples in Thailand
Temples in Thailand are like churches in Rome. People from all over the world travel to these places to see the religious structures. They are built with such intricacy and detail that your kids will be asking about the designs all day. They will also be able to learn how to appreciate a vastly different type of architecture from what they might be used to seeing back at home. Roof tiers, for example, are an important element of Thai temples. Most temples have two or three, but some have up to four! There is a colour scheme typical for Bangkok temple roofs: orange, ochre, green, red and white.
The architecture of Thai buddhist temples has a strong Hindu influence with the addition of the naga (seen as a snake or dragon) on the steeple as well as the elephant-headed Ganesh, the garuda (half-man, half-bird) and more. This will also make for a great opportunity to explain to them about the various religions they are and how to be respectful to each religion.
4. Taste and smell the strong flavour and aroma of the king of fruit in Malaysia - the durian
If your kids have not tried durian before, there’s no place better to do that than in Malaysia - whether it is in Kuala Lumpur or Penang or Johor. With a creamy, rich taste, but pungent smell, they will either love it or hate it, but there’s no doubt that everyone should try the polarising fruit at least once in their lives! Not to mention, feel that prickly shell of the fruit. If your kids love it, they can even buy plenty of durian-flavoured snacks, like durian puffs or durian cakes back home!
5. Take in the aroma of Middle Eastern spices and ride a camel in Dubai
To tour the desert in a car may not give your kids the authentic experience they would get from riding around on a camel. Get them on the ground to feel the heat of the dessert and the sand while teaching them more about the desert animal and its characteristics like its unique hump designed to store food for desert living! After which, you can take them to the vibrant Dubai spice market, or Spice Souk in Eastern Dubai, to see, smell and taste the various Middle Eastern spices like sumac, a dry spice made from the powder of berries. You could easily buy these spices at a supermarket too, but the Spice Market offers an authentic experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere. It is a colourful place that the kids will love and enjoy a sensory overload.
6. Experience the ocean pools by swimming in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs beaches
The Bondi Baths are an iconic structure at Bondi Beach and are open all year round! Take the Bondi to Bronte coastal stroll and stop at Clovelly beach to enjoy a one-of-a-kind snorkel with Clovelly’s magnificent resident Blue Grouper.
Since the kids are used to tropical beaches, it would also be a great experience for them to feel the different texture of the sand here as well as surf the cool seawater at Bondi Beach. To have the kids learn more about the aquatic life Down Under, also plan a trip to the SEA Life Sydney Aquarium to see millions of species of underwater creatures.
These sensorial holidays will enliven the senses of children, and develop an affinity for nature in them, besides kindling in them the zest for life.