Family holiday ideas with pre-schoolers

Family holiday ideas for pre-schoolers

The beauty of this age is that you can travel outside of school holiday periods (and get better deals as a result) and it’s a great time to take a longer family trip.

Beaches and islands still have eternal appeal (see family holiday ideas with babies and toddlers) but children are starting to need and want more activities, whether that’s a fancier pool with a diving board or hands-on activities (anything from fishing to flying a kite).

Kids clubs come into their own with this age group for the children who embrace them, although many children don’t.

Consider more adventurous destinations which still have the beach vibe, such as Lord Howe Island (a two-hour flight from Sydney) which also has nature aplenty, great walking trails, fishing, spectacular snorkelling and everyone gets around on bikes (training wheels and tagalong trailers provided). Rottnest Island off Peth has a similar old-fashioned holiday quality with no cars, simple accommodation, superb snorkelling and swimming and fascinating endemic wildlife, including quokkas.

The Pacific Islands, including Fiji, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands, are great for relaxing beach holidays with pre-schoolers. It’s not too far to fly and most resorts have kids clubs and activities, and even kids stay and eat free deals. Bali has a similar family-friendly vibe. Child-minding and babysitting are usually readily available.

City-based holidays also work well, especially if you can set yourself up in an apartment and explore the city on foot or public transport (so you don’t need to worry about things like car seats). The wonderful parks in cities like Paris, London and New York might just become the highlight of your trip.

Don’t discount smaller cities or towns – for example Lyon or Dijon or Bordeaux in France – which can often be just that much easier to negotiate but still give you much of the quality of its larger capital cousin.

Another option is a rural villa rental, perhaps in Italy or France or Spain, where you have plenty of space and can drive to nearby towns and villages. Just be aware that if there’s a pool it’s unlikely to be fenced.

Asian cities are lively and colourful but some are cleaner and easier to cope with than others, and pollution can be an issue. Singapore is the most pristine – some might say sterile – of the lot, and in the heat of a Hong Kong summer you can still walk around under cover and in air-conditioned, stroller-friendly malls with ease.