One of the reasons we’ve chosen to travel as a family (in addition to the selfish, want to eat and drink our way around the world reasons) is to expand our daughter’s horizons, literally and metaphorically.
I think there is nothing better for the mind and soul than to get out there in the world and experience new things. Rarely are we lucky enough to do this with a trip to Africa, of course, but I think the basic idea can be done on almost any budget.
You don’t even have to leave town. When Audrey was three, our rainy day activity was to take the street car around town. When she was four, we decided we’d spend a few months picking our favorite doughnut place in town. My sister’s family took an awesome one-day road trip a few years back to see the supposedly-haunted houses in small towns in their corner of Kansas. Family bonding for the cost of a tank of gas.
I think this philosophy has helped to make my daughter one of the bravest and most kick-ass six year olds on the planet.
You might be thinking to yourself that I’m only saying so because I’m biased. I am not. (well, I am biased, but I’m still right) Evidence in point:
Our last two nights in South Africa were spent on safari in Amakhala Game Reserve (a great place, though it pales in comparison to Kruger National Park). On one drive, we asked our guide about the termite mounds. He jumped out of the land rover and gave us a lesson on termites. Then he said “and they taste like peppermint. Who wants to try one?”
First, the stoic German tourist in front of us popped one in his mouth and agreed that they did, indeed, taste like peppermint. And then Audrey raised her hand to volunteer.
She popped the termite in her mouth. She considered. And then she smiled and announced “I could eat termites all day!”
That’s my girl. It was the best quote of the trip. (though of course there will be no more eating bugs in front of me. Ick)