Summer travel is coming up, and if your trips are big, it may be time to start planning. As early as three years old, there can be benefits in including children in the planning process. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Find child friendly outings near your destination spots. Whether you are headed to the beach or the theme park, look for area museums, zoos and aquariums. You may need a break from the planned activity or find yourself with a rainy day. Last summer we had a rainy day and found a two hour scenic train ride through the countryside.
- If traveling by car, find child friendly outings along the way. Especially for long trips, it can be helpful to plan real breaks. Stop and take in a picnic at a playground or walk through a museum. Bring physical activities like balls and jump ropes for shorter stops.
- Set aside a bag to collect brochures, menus, tickets, receipts and other memorabilia from the trip. Some of this can add to the scrap book with photos, the rest is just fun to collect.
- For the destination itself, visit websites in the months before and encourage your children to explore and plan their time. Before our trip to Disney, our children each picked a restaurant and a show they wanted to go to and see during our time in the park.
- If possible, check out books about the destination. Learn about the history, culture and food of the area with your children.
- If you’ve made this trip before, talk with your children often about the last trip. Talk about their favorite times and what they hope to do again. If available, review the photos
- If traveling by car, start collecting a bag of travel toys. This can be small new things or things they haven’t seen in a while. In our bag we carry woodkins, magnet board games, colorwonder markers and paper, a few polly pockets, matchbox cars, travel bingo and lacing cards.