Travel with Kids: Lessons Learned in Europe
Anytime we hit the road or hop on a plane I fee like I learn something new . Never more so than when the boys and I travel alone. While we traveled through Europe in October 2012 I picked up a few more tricks to make visiting churches, castles and old ruins fun for toddlers. This allowed us to get a little extra time exploring the sights we traveled so far to see.
Hand the toddler a camera or camera phone. Dek almost lost it in the Duomo of Siena. We were only halfway through one of the most incredible religious monuments I’ve ever seen and Dek was done. There was no way Mike or I were going to head outside so he could run around. I handed Dek my iPhone in camera mode and let him go to town. He could not have been happier.
Old ruins are the best European playgrounds you can find. While in Sicily we headed to the ancient Greek ruins in Agrigento. To get Dek there we told him we were going to check out some big rocks. As a little boy who loves rocks he was all for it. Many of the ruins are roped off, but they have left some exposed. I’m not sure if they meant for it to become a crazy toddler playground filled with places to hide, climb and squeeze through, but that’s what Dek turned it into. He loved the ruins, temples and even the olive trees we hid under when it started to rain.
Let the boy have a stick. A simple stick found on the ground can go a long way. It could be a sword, a walking stick or an exploration tool as we roamed around hillsides, up steps and through hill towns. Just watch where that stick goes. Even the simplest swords can poke an eye out if not carefully attended.
Rocks are your friend. Dek can drop pebbles into drains for hours. There are many drains throughout Europe. I’m not saying he should fill up the drain, but no harm will come to the world if he throws a few in while I snap a couple of pictures of the building in front of us. He can also move a few rocks from one gravel path to another. If it keeps him happy and us all moving forward as we explore, so be it. Move a few rocks kiddo.