Involve the Kids in Summer Travel

Summer is a great time to travel with the kids. There are lots of ways to slide in education and benefit the child’s skill set without dampening the fun!

  • Plan-Do-Review – If you are headed to the beach next week, start planning with kids now by visiting the area’s websites, searching nearby attractions and making a plan for activities with your child. Planning also includes reading related children’s storybooks or looking at pictures from previous trips. The ‘do’ part is when you are there; check through your planned list, talk about all the things they are doing and seeing and keep scrap book items and brochures from everywhere you go. For older kids this could include journaling or taking videos. The Review is calling grandma to tell her in as much detail as possible about the trip, making scrap book pages or writing a story about the trip.
  • Give them Jobs – Once a child is three years old, they can help with packing by running to get simple items. Older children can be in charge of mapping the route or writing the itinerary. In the car, younger children can be the look out to “find” restaurants and gas stations, and older children can be navigators and mark milage.
  • Focus on Local – Research local foods and local traditions together. Take part in what you can. Be sure to note local vocabulary.
  • Review and Plan Each Night – Each night review the highlights of the day and list one or two plans for the next.
  • Be Flexible and Child Focused – I’ve found some of our best stops are unplanned, often found along the way. More than once on long car trips, we’ve been sidetracked by my younger daughter picking up an interesting brochure for a Children’s Museum or restaurant (Mr. Sticky’s Buns) at a rest stop.

Join me to discuss these ideas and several others at my workshop on Traveling with Children on Thursday June 21st. For more information and to register, please visit

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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