Support kids' fun while keeping your cool.
- Ingrid Simone, Toca Magazine Executive Editor
At last, school’s out. And kids’ expectations couldn’t be higher. With many free days ahead to sleep in, play video games or even to go on a special city tour, the peak of the year has arrived for the little ones. And for many families, that means it’s also time for a vacation or a staycation.
Vacationing at home
If your family’s plan is to spend the summer, or most of it, at home, you may have day camps lined or plan to let your kids roam free. Still, it can be fun to organize special activities for you to share with the kids. This way, everyone can get in a vacation state of mind. Here are some tips.
- Go to cultural spots. Explore the options in your city and visit art or science museums. During school recess, children’s plays are usually in theaters, and book shops organize events like storytelling. Another good idea is making a tour of the city and taking the children somewhere they haven’t been yet — they may have visited every shopping mall, but they might not know one of your city’s sights.
- Rediscover classic films and series. If the idea is to spend vacation at home, this is an activity that everyone in the family will love: Introduce the kids to some TV shows from “back in the day.” If you think they’re old enough, you can organize a family marathon to watch some classic movie series such as Back to the Future or Star Wars. Whether it’s a movie or a TV show, you may want to rewatch it first to decide if it’s age-appropriate. It may have scenes or messages that you’ve forgotten about
- Enjoy nature. Maybe during the school year you and your kids don’t get enough time to stop and smell the roses. The summer can be great for spending some time in nature with your kids, whether it’s a nature walk, a trip to a state or local park or a backyard campout.
Traveling with the kids
If a trip — whether it’s to a foreign country, to the nearest beach or to visit the cousins — is in your family’s plans, that’s awesome! A trip is a great way to get parents, children and siblings closer, and it can be an opportunity for the kids to learn new things about the world they live in and about responsibilities. Our tips will help your trip to be a special moment for the kids too, whatever the destination is.
- Plan it with the kids. Choosing the itinerary. Researching the sights to see. Getting the luggage and backpacks ready. Traveling involves a lot of preparation and choices, and, to save some time, maybe you prefer to make them alone instead of involving the kids. But it can be empowering and a good lesson in responsibility for kids to participate in important decisions like these. To walk into that museum they chose, or to eat that different plate they saw on the menu, will make their trip more special. And these are the exact stories they will tell and cherish for the rest of their lives.
- Give your kids a camera, see the world through their eyes. It doesn’t have to be a professional one. Get the simpler ones, which are robust and rugged, some made especially for kids. The results will be amazing. Seeing the same places you visited from a different creative perspective, the way only a kid is able to see, will make great photos for your family album. Besides, being responsible for taking photos of the trip will also be amazing and quite fun for the little ones.
- Make a travel journal. This idea is great for longer trips, and gives kids something to do while at the airport, on road trips or waiting long lines. All you need is a little notebook and some pencils, crayons or pens. Kids can write or draw what they did that day: the place they most liked to visit, what they ate, something unusual they saw. Filling the diary in can even become a challenge and end up encouraging the kids to eat different food, for instance. Just don’t forget to add a date to the pages. Some years from now this will become a souvenir even more special than photo albums.
- Be ready for anything. You know that already, but it’s worth repeating: When traveling with kids, you can never be too prepared. Especially if you have a toddler. Medicine, distractions, extra clothing, wipes and snacks are among the items you can’t forget to bring in a long trip.
The most important thing is that you enjoy your vacation with the children — even if it is by building a castle of blocks in your living room. So, are you ready to spend an unforgettable summer vacation with the kids?
Editor’s Note: Your kids can chronicle their summer for a chance to be featured in our Kid’s-Eye View project! Join the project today.