The National Wildlife Federation is working towards getting 10 million kids outdoors. They’re doing this as part of their “Be Out There” movement, which inspires teachers, parents and kids to go outside, explore and play.
I feel like this is a fantastic idea. A study conducted in 2010 show that kids spend more than 50 hours a week indoors, entertaining themselves with technology and media. While media is a huge part of our lives, we still need to teach our kids how to find a balance between using media and depending on it.
The best way to break this cycle is to get your kids outdoors. You could take them to the park, or play with them in a yard, but they would probably have more fun in an outdoor vacation spot.
Vacation Spot Suggestions
Lakes, national parks and historical sites are all great places to vacation. You’ll be able to learn about your country and all the cultures that it has, while enjoying yourself and relaxing at the same time. If your state has a national park, you may want to make that your first stop. It is closer to home, and it’s a great way to “get your feet wet,” as the saying goes.
All national parks have websites that help you prepare for your visit. They tell you about the park, what to expect while visiting and give you helpful tips on how to stay safe on your trip. You can also find sections that tell you about activities that are designed just for kids and families. You’ll be able to participate in animal feedings, hiking, fishing and tours.
If you want a smaller area to visit, try vacationing at a lake. Some major lakes, like Arbuckle Lake, are of both great historical and cultural value. You’d be surprised what you and your kids can learn about the history of the country just by visiting a lake.
Just like national parks, lakes allow you to hike, fish, and camp. The outdoor activities will keep you engrossed for hours, and the fresh air will be great for everyone in the family.
Tips for Planning Your Trip
It goes without saying that you want your vacation to be age appropriate. You may not want to take your 4-year-old to see President Lincoln’s birthplace. They’re not going to appreciate that. Kids do more learning by hands-on-activities. Taking them somewhere they can’t touch anything is going to be beyond boring to them. They’ll get fussy, and it will create drama.
To avoid all of that, when planning your trip, make sure you’ll have activities that are appropriate for the entire family. You want everyone to be engaged and have a great time.
Make sure your kids can handle the travel time to and from your vacation spot. Kids need to be occupied when sitting still, so if your travel time is long, you need to be able to offset that with activities your kids can do. Maybe they can play games, watch movies, or do something else creative.
Remember, the purpose of your trip is to spend time together, learn, and have fun. So once you get there, put the electronic devices away – at least during the daytime. Kids learn by example, so set a good one. If the rule is no electronics or media until 5pm, then make sure that you follow that rule yourself.
The only exception should be cameras. You’ll want to remember your family vacation fondly, so take plenty of pictures.