Family Travel

Traveling the World Through Our Senses

Traveling around the world can be a great experience for adults and children. However, for some parents, the idea of traveling with their child(ren) can be stressful and/or overwhelming. Luckily, parents can travel around the world with their children without all the stress by engaging their senses at home. Here are some ideas on how to travel around the globe through the senses.

1. Explore a city by engaging the sense of taste. Food connects all humans because we all have to eat, and many times, it is a sign of love and comfort. Each country has its own unique take on food. For example, sandwiches are found in many countries, but how they are prepared varies and what is stuffed inside makes them unique. In Italy, paninis are crispy toasted sandwiches that have a variety of fillings like mozzarella and tomato or prosciutto and fontina cheese, while the Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwich is stuffed with pickled vegetables, grilled pork, and fresh herbs. Both can be made right at home so you and your family can explore the unique flavors of these two countries.

2. Engage the internal senses by doing cultural activities such as dancing or sports. Cultural activities can engage our two internal senses called proprioceptive (pressure when touched) and vestibular (change in the inner ear fluid). Take the Adumu dance of Kenya, it involves jumping, which engages the proprioceptive sense because it puts pressure on the joints and muscles. The Cuban Salsa, on the other hand, is a dance that engages the vestibular sense because it involves spinning that changes the inner ear fluid. There are so many other cultural activities that can engage the internal senses. The caber toss is a Scottish sport that involves tossing 16- to 20-foot-long cabers or logs. This will definitely get your proprioceptive sense engaged.

3. Use the sense of hearing to learn a new language. Children zero-three years old can pick up languages because their brains are soaking up everything that they hear. This is the ideal time to teach a new language. However, this does not mean that parents cannot learn languages too. Parents can learn right along with their children. Learning a new language can be overwhelming but just picking a few words like “yes,” “thank you,” and “goodbye” can be a great start. Another tactic to learn a new language is to use concepts that you are teaching your child at the time. For instance, if you are teaching your child about body parts, learn the names of each part in the new language. In no time, you and your child will be speaking like locals from around the world.

The benefits of traveling are great, but realistically, it may not be feasible for every family. However, by using your senses, you and your family can travel the world without leaving the comfort of your home. Where will you and your family travel today?

Monet Somerville

Monet Somerville is a Parent Educator at The Parenting Center. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Developmental Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. She is also a licensed Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner.

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