This is the time of year we start planning our summer vacation. There is a certain sense of anticipation and excitement about it. Books about National Parks and hiking are scattered everywhere. Dinnertime discussions get everyone's input. Over the years we have been to some pretty amazing places with our kids. Morocco, Germany, Belgium, but the last few years, we have stayed in the states and hit some of the National Parks. I think if you asked my kids, they would say they loved the National Parks the best. It is unbelievable what natural treasures there are in our country!
Given a chance to go to Disney World or a National Park - my kids would choose a National Park in a heartbeat!
Recently, I overheard a middle schooler say, "We never go anywhere." And this was just in repsonse to the teacher talking about a local nature area. I just wanted to cry. I was sad for her. I understand that exploring takes effort, but if there is anything that can give childen a sense of curiosity, instill gratitude and an appreciation of diversity, it is seeing new and different places. Starting with local places is an easy way to begin your exploration journey. Check out a nature center, museum or find a hike nearby. Not only will you get to see remarkable things, it gets your whole family moving and off technology!
Once you have gotten the hang of exploring locally, start venturing out a little bit. Do some research and make sure to include the kids in the planning. Spend the night somewhere in a hotel, Airbnb, or try camping, depending on your style. There are so many options these days - we have stayed in lots of fun and different places. It is hard to choose a favorite but it is probably a tie between sleeping in a treehouse or the house in Oregon with a treehouse AND a tiny house!
I am so thankful my parents took me places and we have tried to do the same with our kids. Its not just about the beautiful places - although, that is a great motivation. It is about helping the current generation understand that people and places are different in a good and healthy way. As you travel through the U.S., it brings you in contact with people of different cultures and socio economic levels - things you might not see if you never left your hometown - or only went to theme parks. In a culture where people are so intolerant of people who believe differently, it helps us all by broadening our horizons.
My recommendation to you as you consider how to spend your vacation time this coming year, is to consider seeing some of the natural wonders of the United States. After seeing some of these places, you come away with a sense of wonder, gratitude and a desparate desire to preserve these places for the future. Check out some of the places we have discovered:
Do you want to raise children that appreciate diversity, have a sense of gratitude and have a sense of curiosity about their surroundings? Then, you need to take them places!
What are some fun and unique places you have gone with your family?
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Stay tuned to upcoming blogs about finding local hikes, planning trips and finding unique housing at your destination.
Hi! I'm Ann - mother of seven, grandmother of two and occupational therapist. My mission is to provide the support families need to raise thriving children and to help you build a family environment that supports healthy development and a pathway to success.
Great blogs to check out:
Rain or Shine Mamma
Children & Nature Network
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