Travel Tips for Families

REI_logo.gifThanks to REI for this great travel advice for families. Use these tips for any last minute travels between now and the start of the school year!

  1. Plan Together — Encourage your children to be a part of the planning/selection process. Select a few trips that meet your family’s requirements, engage children in learning about each trip, then let them choose the family vacation this year.
  2. Ask Questions — Once your vacation is selected, ask your children what questions they have about the trip or location.
  3. Geography Lesson — Use a map/globe to help children learn how far they are going and what the flight route will be, etc. This helps establish an early connection to the destination.
  4. Research Locations — Search online for small towns your itinerary will pass through – learn about the history, animals plants and people that live in these places. Find something your family wants to learn more about or see while you visit.
  5. Pack It Up — Pack with your child – use the gear list and have them think about what they already have that fits the need and what they will need to get.
  6. Keep a Travel Journal — Get your child a journal and help them write in it each day about what happened on their trip – encourage them to draw pictures. Be sure to record the senses you used along the way to hear different sounds, smells, tastes, and sights you experienced in each place.
  7. Make a Lasting Memory — Make sure your children get to use your camera, or have their own so they can take photos. An instant camera is a fun thing to take along when visiting developing countries. It’s a great gift to share on the spot with new friends you make along the way and a quick way to add photos to the journal when the children recaps their day.
  8. Send a Postcard Home — Look for postcards to send to family, friends, and even to your own home so your children have a memento from their trip awaiting them upon your return home. Make sure you use colorful local stamps – great keepsakes and addition to journals.
  9. The More the Merrier — Travel with other families with children. Both families will appreciate the company of other playmates, and adults.
  10. Present — If your child is in school, have him create a presentation for the class to "show and tell" about his trip.

Do you have any other great tips you would offer based on your vacation experience?

Nature Rocks!

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Nature Rocks is an initiative created to inspire and empower parents across the country to take their families to play, explore, and enjoy quality time in nature. Nature Rocks has been designed to ensure that all families – regardless of budget, kids’ ages, or experience – can plan affordable and fun activities in nature that encourage family bonding and nurture happier, healthier, and smarter children.

As part of its efforts to empower parents to take their kids outside, Nature Rocks introduces its 2009 Summer Nature Staycation Planning Guide. Available at www.naturerocks.org, this free guide provides parents and caregivers with information and tools to enjoy no- or low-cost summer vacations in nature that are close to home. 

Developed through a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, REI, The Children & Nature Network, and ecoAmerica, Nature Rocks is designed to to inspire and empower families to play and explore in nature — as fun, family bonding in nature helps kids become happier, healthier, and smarter.

The Web site, www.naturerocks.org, provides parents over 100 fun, inexpensive, interesting, and safe activities based on specific criteria including location, kids’ ages, and time available. Additionally families can find activities in their immediate area via an easy zip code search tool. Because of its range of activities, Nature Rocks ensures that all families, whether outdoor enthusiasts or nature novices, can get involved in nature the way that suits them best. 

What do you like to do in nature with your kids during summer?