Traveling in the great outdoors here in the USA is not only an amazing way to spend time with your family but it’s also a great opportunity to discover and learn so much about the world around us. As a single mom who’s taken on the goal of seeing all 50 states with my kids (after 10 years and 14 trips we are at 42), I can tell you that adventure and learning can take place in some unexpected places. Here are 3 great tips to maximize learning and memory making as you spend time with your family in the great outdoors.
1. Getting your gear can be an adventure itself-Some of our most memorable stops have been at a Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops, so if you’re going to go get your gear-take everyone along. We are not huge camping types, but everyone was excited to see all the fishing lures, see the local fish in the huge tanks, learn about the hunting gear and even test our skills on the laser target range. Encourage your kids by asking them questions, making them guess what stuff does, and even recruiting the salespeople to help you.
2.Take time away from electronics-engage in conversation– Being connected electronically can be a fantastic thing-Lost? Use the GPS, need to find a good place to eat? Yelp. Kids bored? Play a game. But electronics can also take us away from engaging with each other and seeing the world around us. As you travel make sure you notice things around you and make conversation with your kids. I remember driving through the forest in Washington state and seeing logging trucks on the road as we were driving to our campsite. It was a great opportunity to talk about the importance of lumber, how it’s used, how it’s harvested, and the importance of preserving our forests. The important thing is to engage by asking questions to spark a conversation.
3. Make sure there’s something for everyone– balance is key for a successful trip wherever you go. Fly-fishing for hours on end in the middle of the river might sound like heaven on earth to you, but your kids may get bored 2 or 3 hours in. Plan your trips taking everyone’s attention spans into account. If you do plan on spending lots of time on one activity, give everyone a “job” so they can help as well as learn and feel part of it. If that’s not possible, find alternate activities that are age appropriate so everyone has a great time. The important thing is balance so that everyone has a positive and memorable experience.
Following these important tips will allow everyone on the trip to take advantage of amazing learning opportunities as well as make memories that will last a lifetime.
Alisa Abecassis is the ceo and founder of The Explore All 50 Project. She is a nationally recognized expert in family travel across America. For more travel tips, itineraries, and not to be missed activities all across the USA log on to www.ExploreAll50.com