How to prepare for your holiday to Italy with children
Most people prepare for their holiday by packing their passports and buying sunscreen. I used to be quite casual in reading up on our holiday destination. Somehow, now our kids are growing up, I feel that I want to involve them more in preparing for our next family trip. So, how do we prepare for a holiday to Italy with children? In this post, I listed crafts, work sheets, books, food and much more I used to prepare together with our five- and seven-year-old.
Ancient Rome crafts and work sheets
- Coloring pages are a great way to talk about your oncoming family trip to Italy with your children. We use print-outs quite often, minions and Disney princesses coloring pages can be found throughout my house. So why not choose our holiday as a coloring theme? We are leaving for Italy in four weeks now, so this morning I figured we could find some ancient Roman themed print-outs together. Our daughter aptly chose a My Little Pony type horse in a chariot race (Go Fluttershy!). Our son chose a gladiator fighting a lion, though it did not look as if the gladiator had much of a chance really… I was surprised to see there are that many coloring pages on ancient Rome, there’s architecture, Roman gods and goddesses and much more. Most are used for school or home schooling, but I guess it is not illegal to have fun with coloring in the weekend as well. Try this site on Roman coloring pages or do a Google search.
- Our eldest is extremely interested in anything having to do with math (and football and winning, that aside). The chapters of the Diary of Dorkius Maximus are numbered with Roman numerals, which he was eager to learn about. So we spent an hour on a Sunday morning learning the numerals and doing some math exercises. Some were a bit too difficult, but he enjoyed it very much. He even made some exercises himself. We are looking forward to figuring out the numbers on the Roman buildings we will be seeing this summer.
- Depending on what sparks the interest of your children most, there is much more to find on ancient Rome. You can make laurel crowns together, eat your age in Roman numeral cookies or dress up as ancient Romans (using bed sheets).
You can find these activities on my Pinterest board on Rome and Tuscany with children. Feel like doing some more? A search on Pinterest on ancient Rome crafts will give you tons of ideas to enjoy preparing for your holiday to Italy with your family.
I spend too much money on books. The past few years I have been trying to tune it down and use our library cards for my books obsession. Now, I spend my hard-earned money on the library, that asks a euro each time I ask them to put aside a book for me. Anyway, this counts as as helping a good cause, right? But still, books on traveling, history and (ancient) cultures I cannot always resist. This is a short list of books I borrowed or bought to read to the kids about Rome, Italy and its history.
- See Inside Ancient Rome, Usborne Children’s books (age 4 and up, just great)
- Diary of Dorkius Maximus (age 7 and up, funny and educational)
- Geronimo Stilton, the Coliseum Con (age 7 and up, terrible and not worth buying)
- The Roman mysteries series, Caroline Lawrence (age 9 and up, there are four and all fab)
- Het geheim van de afgebeten vingers, Rindert Kromhout (Dutch, aged 7 and up, scary in a good way)
Well, if there is anything kids know about Italy, it’s the food! Our children order a pizza Margherita as if they are native Italians. Pasta, pizza and Italian ice cream are what our kids are most looking forward to, when thinking about the summer holiday. Since they are used to Italian food, I have tried to make something different from Italian cuisine, like the gnocchi carbonara recipe. This went down well, but making our own pizza is the best treat I can choose for my offspring.
- Make your own pizza: Well, you know the drill. If you have the time, making the pizza dough yourselves is the most fun. Have everyone make their own pizza, so there will be no discussion on too much cheese or too many vegetables (!). Making your own tomato sauce is fairly easy, this Jamie Oliver recipe for tomato sauce even makes you use tinned tomatoes.
- But there are more ways to enjoy Italian cuisine. Have a try and download Jojo’s kitchen in Italia app to interest your kids in making their own Caprese salad.
- Do you have time on your hands and want to make some more out of this? I came across a great idea on Pinterest, did not try it ourselves (yet?) though. Go all out and have yourselves a Roman feast. Dress up as Romans, use pillows and blankets as a bed and prepare some typical food for a Roman cena. I could only think of grapes and wild boar (maybe too exotic for most kids), but supposedly you can serve roasted chicken (instead of doormice), olives, pear, omelet and green salad.
Art and maps
If you have older children, maybe you could offer them some information about:
- Your travel route: Have them make their own personalized travel route map online using Google Maps. They can keep it updated when traveling and add pictures and reviews of places you’ve been to.
- Are they interested – or to be interested briefly – in Italian history? There is much to find online about the Roman empire, including maps and work sheets, You Tube videos and apps, such as the Britannica Kids Ancient Rome app.
- Mine are too young, but for older children you could use this wonderful collection of sites about Italian Renaissance art for children. Perhaps not everything will have them hanging on to your every word, but Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions hopefully will.