Like reading a good book, days out are compost for the young mind, nourishing it and helping it to grow. Another way to look at it is that spent out in the world is credit in the bank of learning: the richer and more interesting your experiences, the greater the resources your child has to draw on when they need them.
Days out don’t have to be expensive – theme parks have their place but are limited in terms of what they deliver on life experience. Nor do they have to be unusual – for an under five, there is as much experiential value in a trip a local nature reserve (or rubbish dump!) as there is in a visit to the British Museum. And you may be surprised to find that the most memorable part was the bus journey there or the hot chocolate you had afterwards. It’s a reminder that what children notice and value can be very different to what we do. Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. What would they like to do?
Whatever you choose to do, it’s good to involve your child in the planning of a day trip – look at the bus timetable together and shop for your packed lunch ingredients. This gives them a sense of responsibility and shifts the emphasis away from pure entertainment toward engagement, and a meaningful experience.