Category: Family Adventures

Family Adventures: Real-World Learning

Family Adventures: Real-World Learning

Are you thinking about a family road trip this summer? Our family believes in real-world learning, and travel is a great way to experience new things and build background knowledge with your kids. Family adventures don’t need to be expensive or complicated, either. Read on for our best budget-friendly tips for traveling with kids.

When you begin taking family adventures, you might want to start small with a day trip or overnight stay. Our kids are great travelers, but it’s taken years to build their stamina. (When they were very young, we would would drive overnight or during their nap time to make things easy on ourselves.)

Do your best to make the trip part of the adventure!

  • Pick out new activity books to do in the car.
  • Leave time in your schedule for short stops when the mood strikes.
  • Try geocaching for even more fun.

Want to read more tips about family adventures?


Budget-Friendly Family Adventures

You’ll be amazed how many free and cheap activities are available for families. Whenever we travel, we search for “things to do in — with kids” and pick two or three things that sound interesting. (Just last month, we found a fascinating airpower museum near the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa.)

In the last few years, we’ve toured the Nebraska Capitol Building, explored Fonferek’s Glen in Wisconsin, and marveled at the Sergeant Floyd Monument in South Dakota–all for free!

We also like to stop by the Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s Center whenever we travel to a larger city. The staff usually have great recommendations, maps, and (sometimes) free items like posters or activity books.

Some of our favorite family adventures have happened by happy accident when we’ve followed intriguing road signs like Ship Rock (Wisconsin) and the Jolly Green Giant statue (Minnesota).


Free and cheap family adventures! {travel tips for parents}

Recently, we traveled to Omaha to meet up with some of our family members. Of course, Omaha is famous for the Henry Doorly Zoo, but we wanted to explore the city a bit more. We searched for the best kids’ activities in the area and got quite a few good recommendations!

Every one of these family adventures was FREE!

  • First, we visited the Lewis & Clark Landing near the banks of the Missouri River. We walked out on the Bob Kerrey Bridge and snapped a picture on the state line. We explored the exhibits in the Visitor Center, located within the National Park Service Midwest Regional Office. And then we walked out to find a geocache under a bench by the river’s edge.
  • We traveled out to Kenefick Park to learn more about the history of the Transcontinental Railroad and see two Union Pacific locomotives.
  • Finally, we stopped at Gene Leahy Mall to go down the big slides.

Every family adventure needs supplies! See what we keep in our adventure backpack.


Join the Parent Resource Room!Tell me about your favorite family adventures in the comments below!

 

Why Your Family Needs an Adventure Backpack

Why Your Family Needs an Adventure Backpack

Many, many years ago, there was a movie called One Fine Day featuring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney as two single parents working together to juggle their kids and their jobs. One of the recurring jokes in the movie is that ultra-controlling mom Pfeiffer always has what she needs in her bag, from juice boxes to costumes for the kids. Clooney, more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants dad, even asks at one point, “Where I can get a bag like that?”

I’m not sure why that random movie fact has stuck with me for more than 20 years, but I had a similar moment last week when we met up with some friends at a fairground. One of my girls needed to use the bathroom immediately, so we walked to the Porta Potties right around the corner. As she came out of her little hut, I was waiting with wipes and some hand sanitizer, which made my friend crack a joke about being a Boy Scout. I joked right back, “I’m not a Boy Scout, I’m a mom.”

Our family tradition of carrying a backpack came right after the diaper bag years. Typically, our “adventure backpack” stays in the trunk of our family car, filled with all the supplies we tend to need most.

Whether your family adventures include travel or exploring the outdoors, an adventure backpack can make life with kids easier!

Young girl on dad's shoulders with text: 16 Must-Haves for Family Adventures

What is an adventure backpack?

Our backpack is a simple, two-shoulder bag that holds all the things our kids tend to need when we are hiking, geocaching, touring the zoo, or visiting an apple orchard. We keep it light enough that any one of us can carry it if needed–but not so light that we end up sunburned or covered in bug bites because the sunscreen and/or bug spray is in the other car.

What should we put in our adventure backpack?

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The type of backpack your family chooses depends on the types of activities you’ll need it for. Rarely do we hike more than a couple of hours and we typically drive right to our campsites, so we don’t need an actual hiking backpack. A regular school pack works just fine for our adventures, so long as it has lots of pockets for our supplies:

  • hats for everyone
  • sunscreen
  • umbrella
  • insect repellent
  • bandaids
  • wipes
  • hand sanitizer
  • tissues
  • pain reliever
  • flashlight
  • compass
  • whistle
  • water bottles
  • snacks (optional)
  • zipper bags for trash or nature collections
  • notepad and pencil

Where should we take our adventure backpack?

If your family is looking to have more adventures full of hands-on learning and fun memories, keeping a family adventure backpack in the car will be a lifesaver!

What do you keep in your adventure backpack?


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What is a family adventure backpack and WHY do we need one?

8 Simple Fall Family Traditions + Gratitude Journal

8 Simple Fall Family Traditions + Gratitude Journal

Growing up in Texas, cooler weather and changing leaves usually arrived at the same time as Christmas. Now that we have moved to the Midwest, our girls get to experience a TRUE fall: harvest, apple-picking, pumpkin patches, and jumping in HUGE piles of leaves in the yard. We also have been able to start new fall family traditions! 

Image of fall foliage with text: 8 Simple Fall Family Traditions

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8 Simple Fall Family Traditions:

  • Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard.
  • Rake up leaves from the yard and jump in them. (Bonus points for raking a neighbor’s yard, too!)
  • Go on a nature hike and gather items for a homemade wreath craft.
  • Complete a family puzzle or LEGO set over a few weeks’ time.
  • Listen to an audiobook on the couch while doing a project.
  • Invite a family over for a meal.
    This can be for Thanksgiving (think of someone who doesn’t have extended family nearby) or another meal during the month of November. Have your children help plan the menu, go shopping, set the table, and prepare the meal together. Teach your children about serving others and being hospitable.
  • Do a family service project.
    Gather items for the local food pantry or women’s shelter. Snuggle dogs or cats at the animal shelter. Write letters for veterans. Create small care packages for the homeless (warm socks, toiletry items, snacks). Participate in Operation Christmas Child or Angel Tree.   
  • Bake (or buy) cookies and talk about what each family member is grateful for. You can make a gratitude jar, banner, or start a gratitude journal to add to each year.

Make a Gratitude Journal:

When your children are old enough to understand what “thankful” means, go out and buy a family journal. I would recommend one with unlined pages and a spiral binding.

 

Decorate the cover together with fabric or scrapbook paper. Trace each child’s hand on a page in the journal and allow them to fill it in with markers, stickers, colored paper, magazine scraps, etc. Write down what they are thankful for (or let them write in the journal) and date the entries. Each year, bring the journal out and reminisce about previous years.

Start a new family tradition: create a gratitude journal!


What are your family’s favorite fall traditions? Leave a comment below or join the discussion in our Facebook group!

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Fall Family Traditions | family activity ideas, teaching kids to be grateful, helping others, gratitude journal for families, making a difference

 

 

Join our Fall Reading Challenge:

Reading aloud with your children for 15 minutes a day can have significant impact on your:

  • family bond
  • child’s love for learning
  • child’s emotional and academic success
  • and MORE!

You can grab our FREE printable reading log and get details about our November book giveaway below.

Grab our free printable reading log at rollingprairiereaders.com!