You must tailor the activities you are planning to the child.
Ask them what they want to do before you go: don't suddenly spring upon them that they are whitewater rafting when you get there.
They will be happiest taking part in activities with siblings or other children they know - it is very daunting, if character-building, to be put in a group with a lot of strangers. Give them a list of activities, and let them choose.
Make sure each activity is age-appropriate, and ask searching questions about the qualifications of supervising staff.
This is why holiday companies such as Mark Warner are a good bet, because they have English-speaking, qualified staff at their nine Mediterranean and Aegean resorts.
Activities you might consider for this age range include:
- Snorkelling for younger children, scuba diving for those 10 and over
- Horse riding, although preferably your child should have some prior experience. This is not the kind of sport you can pick up on the hoof, so to speak.
- Sailing, especially dinghy sailing for children from six upwards
- Wind-surfing, but remember that pulling up the sail is hard work - probably best for strong eight-year-olds and above
- Water-skiing. Strangely, the younger the child, the more likely they are to be able to do this well - light children just pop up out of the water.
- Whitewater rafting is very exciting, but can also be dangerous - probably best if you accompany them for moral support, and they must be able to swim independently without aids
- Canoeing is ideal for any age of confident swimmer, but the instructors must be qualified. It is not recommended for children under ten to canoe in the sea, as this is potentially far more hazardous
- Tennis. Very safe, and a useful skill to learn for later years
- Football is popular for all ages, for girls as well as boys
- Adventure trekking, which basically means hiking or walking for hours at a time, is probably not advised for your younger children, who will get tired and fractious.
In safari, this will offer practical wilderness experience such as bush survival skills and learning about herding, and on the coast there will be snorkelling trips, scuba diving and exploring coral reefs.
- Any adventure holiday described by the travel company as "challenging" is not a good idea. Most companies grade their treks, and will give age recommendations.
And bear in mind that walking is not usually a child's favourite activity, so if you do book a trek, make sure there is plenty to keep them interested along the way, such as looking out for different wildlife or birds.
- This is the age of fun and theme parks, and then there's always Disney - either in Paris or the States.
- Using different forms of transport is great fun. Rent bikes, take taxis, and try the local trains, trams or boats
- Immerse them in the local culture, and whenever possible let them encounter local children of their own age. This will be most memorable for them
- Above all, aim for a pleasant, satisfied tiredness at the end of the day. Tired children are sleepy children and will allow you to have some time on your own