Are your kids planning your next vacation? Would you even want them to? Ha! Ha! I’m only partially kidding. Just like the Sophia in my fictional story, my real daughter has a sense of adventure. I’m pretty sure she came with it– but we’ve definitely chosen to encourage it!
Stuck at Home?
Not ready for a road trip right this minute? Well, this post may give you some tips about things we do to foster the adventurous spirit in our kids (and us parents!) while we’re at home.
We’re at home today– my two young children and I. My blog ideas start in the kitchen… we like to eat healthy, which is why I spend so much time there. But when my stainless steel pots hanging from their pot rack begin to feel like stainless steel prison bars– and I can’t escape to the open road– I escape to the computer to write. So now, when the family is wondering why our healthy food is burnt–at least I’ll have a healthy blog to show for it! But… how to engage my kids?
How to Escape, even if you are stuck at home!
1. Revive Recent Memories
We like road trips. This March we left the Chicago area for Tuscon, Arizona– my husband’s favorite place. But we didn’t begin in a direct way at all! We started South to Tennessee to visit friends, took route 40 all across Texas, into New Mexico, then into Tuscon in Southern Arizona– where we also stayed with friends… then North to the Grand Canyon for a brief lookout, then through the Four Corners into Colorado, through Durango and on to Denver to visit family– then, so many cups of coffee later– back home to Chicago. I’ll have to share more with you in future posts about our adventures, and how well the children adjusted to the drive! But for now, just know they’ve recently seen a big portion of the country and it’s still fresh in their minds…
How to reinforce your children’s travel memories:
Start a discussion of places you have been recently, or in past years. When I was three, my Mom and I accompanied my Dad on a business trip to France. I remember it vividly. I remember actually being there– which is one of my earliest memories. But my parents also helped to foster my memories by frequently having slide shows of places we had been. Today, a Power Point slide show on a “stuck at home” day, or looking through the family scrapbook will encourage discussion.
2. Do a Learning Activity:
Right now we have Dino’s Illustrated U.S. Map on our kitchen table and the children are on a visual road trip! These maps are awesome! You can hang them on the wall, but right now we have the U.S. one across the kitchen table as a semi-permanent fixture (a table pad underneath, and a clear plastic table-cloth over the map.) The map has a border around it with icons of famous people and sites to locate– so it becomes a scavenger hunt for all of us! We are listening to a CD called Train Songs– a compilation of historical folk songs having to do with trains. The last song on the CD is a cross-country train trip highlighting the different cities– and the industries they were known for back in the day. I know my little boy is learning a lot because he is interrupting me to get me to look at the map! He likes the many pictures of airplanes and learning about the most famous flights; he likes the race cars in Indianapolis; and the Golden Gate Bridge! His big sister is helping read it to him. And I think as the kids are marveling at the U.S. map, they are actually planning our next vacation!
3. Do a Project:
Maybe it’s time to update that scrapbook; and rather than you doing it all yourself, show your children how to create a design and the proper way to insert the pictures. Have fun thinking of captions for them. Or maybe it’s time to write a letter to people you visited or met on your trip. Have your children think of things to write, or have them write part of it themselves. Include a recent picture. My parents stayed in touch with the family we met in France, but I never had a chance to take part in it. Or have your kids take part in cooking a meal from another country or another part of the U.S. Or have them try painting a picture from someplace they’ve been. It makes a great keepsake to hang on the wall!