Every generation probably says it but kids today have it easy. With computer games, smartphones and a range of technology available to them, many kids, particularly in the Western world, miss out on seeing the wonders of nature and the diversity of the world around them. Vacations can be focused around destinations where kids simply live their normal lives in a place with a little more sun and have access to numerous bars, restaurants and theme parks. Travelling to somewhere a little out of the ordinary then, like Costa Rica can be a life-enriching experience for them, a trip that will change their view of the world around them and allow them to head back to school with tales of sights and experiences that few of their classmates will be able to match.
There are plenty of family attractions in Costa Rica that can be combined with spending time on a volunteering project. Kids will marvel at the olive ridley sea turtles at Refugio Nacional de Fauna Silvestre Ostional or the crocodiles they might spot on a trip through the jungle rivers of Tortugero. Parents can sit back and watch their children learn to surf at Mal País and Santa Teresa or join them trying out white water rafting on the Río Reventazón or Río Pacuare. It can be a joy to see your kids experiencing things that are out of the ordinary for them, exploring new cultures and making friends from a different part of the world. Costa Rica, with its colorful rainforests, volcanoes, wild animals and beaches is so different to the vacations that many kids take every year and parents can take pleasure in the fact that they are combining fun with a valuable learning experience for their children.
Trying different foods
For parents who try to steer their kids away from junk food and encourage them to try new things, Costa Rica offers plenty of different things to try. The basics such as chicken, rice and beans will go down well with most children but parents can also encourage kids to try freshly made fruit drinks (batidos) or local specialities such as coconut milk straight from a cracked open coconut or cinnamon-spiced rice milk (horchata). There are new vegetables to try as well including zapallo, chayote and sweet red peppers. Black bean dips or chimichurri to go with tortillas make a change from the usual accompaniments, and kids can also enjoy fresh fish caught that day off the Costa Rican coast
Arranging for your kids to work on a volunteering project is an excellent way to help bring them up as well-rounded individuals. Sadly many youngsters do little to help either their own communities or communities further afield that need help. In a world where increasing numbers of kids spend much of their leisure time online, addicted to video games or social media, working to help poor communities in Costa Rica or volunteering on environmental projects gives kids an opportunity to do some something positive with their lives and appreciate what happens in the world around them rather than in the virtual world available on their various gadgets. Tropical Adventures can organize participation in a vast range of projects including conservation programs with sea turtles, research with dolphins and whales, wildlife rescue and community programs. Volunteering can have a real and positive impact on communities and the environment in Costa Rica, and it is something that develops a sense of self-worth and fulfilment in kids that get involved.
Parents also look out for the long term prospects of their children. As kids grow up and move towards applying for college or looking for work, these types of experiences can look impressive on an application for or resume. It can be difficult to find decent work experience without good connections or extensive financial resources, but a volunteering vacation in Costa Rica can be relatively inexpensive. While the projects that need volunteers are the real beneficiaries, there is nothing wrong in volunteers taking their experiences back home and using them as evidence of what they can do as they try to get on in life.
Parenting has its joys and rewards but it can be tough at times and for many parents an annual vacation can be a time to sit back, relax and let the kids do pretty much the same. It is worth thinking outside of the box at times however. Vacation periods are the only times that many parents and children have an extended period of time to do things together. Kids grow up quick and vacations with them are limited so why not think about doing something a little different and giving the whole family a memorable and rewarding experience to share together.