7 Creative classes your children will love

7 Creative classes your children will love

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Traveling through Europe with kids in tow can be both a blessing and traumatizing affair. Seeing their eyes light up at the Eiffel Tower or Buckingham Palace is almost enough to forget about the feet dragging at yet another museum or turned up noses at the site (or smell) of delectable fragrant French cheese. While parents have bucket list items to cross off during their European tour, it can be an absolute blast to plan kid-specific adventures as well. Here are seven classes and experiences for little ones you won’t want to miss.

Become a gladiator of ancient Rome.

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” If your kids are needing a way to spend some pent-up energy, harken back to the Roman Empire and become a gladiator. Approximately a mile from the Colosseum just off the Appian Way is the Gruppo Storico Romano (Rome Gladiator School) — a training facility for Rome’s fiercest warriors. For two hours, families learn sword skills and basic hand-to-hand combat techniques. Also included is a hands-on exhibit and museum, complete with helmets and costumes. While you may not be as victorious as Russell Crowe in “Gladiator,” it will definitely be an adventure of a lifetime. www.facebook.com/GruppoStoricoRomano/

Discover the sweeter side of life with a French twist.

One of the trendiest and most delicious souvenirs from Paris is the macaron. My son usually starts drooling the moment he spots the delicate dessert in bakery display cases. For budding bakers, a lesson in making macarons is a must. Families can learn the ways of French pastry chefs at a 90-minute class at Galeries Lafayette in the historic Opera District of Paris. Students learn how to mix ingredients, fill and assemble the tasty treats. haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/en

Hang 10 in the Atlantic

Believe it or not, Portugal boasts some of the largest waves in the world, which brings in world-class surfers. If you’ve got water babies on your hands, take a trip to the seaside hamlet of Peniche, Portugal and learn from the best. During the late spring and summer months, the ocean is a bit tamer with wave heights averaging between 3-5 feet. At Baleal Surfcamp, lessons last a little more than two hours and include learning the basics of lying prone, standing and finding the right wave. www.balealsurfcamp.com

Tap into your artistic side in Italy

Florence is home to magnificent art legends such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Dante. If you need to strike a comprise to visit the Uffizi Gallery without complaining, take the kids to Accademia d’Arte Bianco Cappello during your visit. Offering instructional art classes specifically designed for children, no one will be bored. You may just discover you’ve got a blooming artist on your hands. www.florenceartschool.it

Learn etiquette like a royal

You might be scratching your head at the inclusion of an etiquette class but gone are the days of getting smacked with a ruler. Go beyond the basics of “please” and “thank you,” and get fancy! At Polished Manners in London, they can teach rambunctious little ones how to behave like a proper Eliza Doolittle while having fun. Through humor and hands-on demonstrations, you may just be ready for tea with the Queen. www.polishedmanners.co.uk

Break out in song and dance in Spain

One of the most stunning forms of dance originated in the Andalusian region of Spain. If your children have a flair for the dramatic and love to dance, sign them up for a Flamenco dance or music lesson when visiting Seville. Under the artistic direction of professional dancers and musicians at Taller Flamenco, students learn the history, movements and staccato beats of this beautiful art form. www.tallerflamenco.com/en

Did someone say waffles?

Brussels is famous for its sumptuous cuisine — chocolate, mussels, beer, frites and, of course, waffles. Known locally as “gaufres,” waffles are a sinfully delicious Belgian treat which will leave your kids wanting more long after you go home. Why not teach them how to make their own? Create culinary masterpieces with all the traditional toppings (fruit, chocolate, whipped cream and more), and eat all you want! The caveat? Everyone is a participant, no spectators allowed. They also offer gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free workshops on request. www.waffleworkshop.com

While traveling with kids can be somewhat challenging at times, try a few adventures just for them. By leaving a little wiggle room for activities and classes with your little (or not-so-little) ones in mind, you may just find your inner child is just as happy as they are.

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