And so, the time has come: after long months of preparations, the long-awaited trip to Venice is about to become true. OK it won’t be the honeymoon you’ve been always dreaming of, but Venice is Venice, a magic to be fully experienced even with your children in tow!
Like a flawless puzzle, you have made up the perfect composition of family-friendly stuff: the most convenient flight, a full-optional hotel, the most efficient transfer from the airport, the list of must-sees… There’s only one little thing: you need to find out how to keep your kids engaged with some kind of entertaining activities that can turn this trip to Venice into an unforgettable adventure, even for them!
Well, if you have found our website following the generous reviews in Tripadvisor and you are thinking of booking a scavenger hunt with Venice Kids Tours… that’s a great idea! It is a good start, but before you begin to pack, here’s some professional tips to make your tour a success.
Take your time: sometimes less is more!
Don’t ignore your children’s pace! The journey is long and they will be probably tired once they get here, so… avoid starting off in a rush as soon as you arrive: take your time to settle in.
When booking your tour and other activities on the first day, consider that your plane may land late or that it may take longer than expected to reach your hotel. A little mishap can always happen, therefore keep yourself wide and avoid planning activities too close to the time of arrival in the city.
Indeed, do not be afraid of venturing through the intricate maze of Venetian alleyways on your own! Take your chance to discover some quiet and fascinating places off-the-beaten-paths! You may find out that it’s exciting even to get lost in Venice!
Then, once you are ready and relaxed, you can make the appointment with your guide and enjoy the tour with no haste…
Tour or...tour de force!?
Measure your energies! You don’t come to Venice everyday and it’s understandable that you want to see as much as possible and walk it far and wide, but you can’t turn your family trip into a grueling marathon!
Don’t schedule too many tours and activities, especially when travelling with kids: keep some time at leisure and make sure that learning activities are followed by moments of pure fun or relaxation.
For sure, your kids will appreciate a visit to a museum more when combined with the promise of an afternoon on the Lido beach or a rowing lesson.
After all, the secret to a successful dish is to mix the ingredients well: combine a history and art-based scavenger hunt with a mask-making workshop or a cooking class and you will see the result in the smiles of the whole family!
The right clothing and other things to bring
Consider the clothing to wear during the tour according to the season of your stay in Venice.
We have often seen children chattering their teeth because they only wore a sweatshirt in January: even if Italy is the country of sunshine, in the winter it gets very cold and damp, especially in the North!
Many museums do not have heating, so you need to be well dressed in the colder months, as well as in summer it is better not to forget sunglasses, hat and – why not – a nice fan, since air conditioning is also rare in museums in Venice.
Other things could be very useful for young travellers during the tour: for example, don’t forget a bottle of water and some quick snacks in case of low sugar (and low attention!). While it is essential to make them pee before we begin (we certainly don’t want to interrupt an exciting treasure hunt for plumbing problems?!).
Hit the mark: a tour that fits perfectly!
Think about what kind of subjects your children might be interested in.
Even if you are crazy about contemporary art and would spend two days at the Pinault Foundation, maybe your kids would be more interested in seeing the dinosaur in the Natural History Museum?! Or, if your kid is just studying Renaissance painting at school, a visit to the Accademia Galleries is certainly ideal.
While booking the tour, give your guide as much information as possible to allow her to tailor a tour that fits your needs and those of your children.
Big manoeuvers: prepare in advance!
Before leaving, show your children a documentary about Venice, which can be very useful to stimulate their curiosity.
During the visit they will be able to satisfy their curiosity by asking the guide a thousand questions, directly on the places seen before on TV. During the viewing, let them write down the questions to ask her at the right time: she will be happy!
Likewise, there are many books published on Venice, and many written for children: reading adventures set in Venice and then finding the scenarios is exciting! While you are planning your trip, ask your guide for good advice on the titles that are most suitable for the age of your children, so that you have time to let them read one.
If you are dealing with teenagers, you could instead show them some films set in Venice (such as Indiana Jones or The tourist) and then go in search of the shooting locations.
Don't create false expectations!
Be honest with your kids: a guided tour – especially ours ) – can be a lot of fun, but it is still a learning moment.
It is better not to create an expectation of pure fun in children since it does not fully correspond to reality: even if it looks a lot like it, the Doge’s Palace is not Harry Potter’s Hogwarts! And not even the full speed boat chases along the Grand Canal like in the movie The Italian Job are possible!
A team effort
Dear parents, do not think that the guide can always do it alone!
Even during the visit, your cooperation is ESSENTIAL. If you want the tour with your kids to be a success, follow it discreetly but also carefully, otherwise your children will think it is not worth listening to.
Try to stimulate their curiosity, show interest, ask the guide the questions your children would ask if they weren’t a little shy, or very proud!
During the tour there may be some small drops in attention: let’s team up and don’t give up!
Let yourself be amazed by your children!
Sometimes it may seem that even during the most interesting and exciting activities some children are not particularly involved, pretending not to listen, maybe just to not give us satisfaction…
Most of the time children actually listen, and when you least expect it, they come up with intelligent questions or sharp observations that not even the professors would ask you!
And the point of view of children is often surprising, how they see the world or how they evaluate history or judge the actions of men.
There is always something to learn from them and this is the reason why we at Venice Kids Tours LOVE what we do and try to do it by improving ourselves every time thanks to the inspiration from them!