Tag: family activities

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!

 

Earth Day Activities and Books for Kids

Earth Day Activities and Books for Kids

Spring is here! What a fun time to teach our children about science in a creative, hands-on way. Whether you go on a nature walk, pick up trash at a local park, or start a garden, children can learn to care for the environment with these fun Earth Day activities and books!

Join our FREE Resource Library! resourcelibrary.club

Click here to join our Resource Library, filled with FREE hands-on learning activities and parenting resources!


Simple Earth Day Activities for Kids

Simple Earth Day Activities for Kids

(Just a reminder that Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.)

  • We celebrate the beginning of spring with weekly walks around our neighborhood. We look for budding trees, nesting birds, and the arrival of daffodils and tulips in neighbors’ yards. This year, we’ll be starting a family nature journal to document all the changes we see.
  • We’ll also be working in our vegetable garden in our yard. We have a raised garden bed on our back deck, right off the kitchen, which makes it easy for the kids to prune and harvest each day.
  • Visiting the botanical gardens every year is a fun family field trip to celebrate the changes that spring brings!
  • Now that the snow is melting, our family is excited to get back to geocaching, one of our favorite ways to explore nature near and far. We use the Geocaching app to find hidden treasures wherever our travels take us: from the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center in Omaha, Nebraska to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin to Lighthouse Ann Arbor Park in Menominee, Michigan!
  • This year, we’ll also be watching our Extraordinary Earth DVD from Rachel and the Treeschoolers. You can watch a clip of it below:

 


Earth Day Busy Box

Our Earth Day busy box is filled with green and blue toys found around the house! You can watch the video to see what I included or scroll down for a full list:

 


Earth Day books for kids

9 Earth Day Books for Kids

Picking up seasonal books from the library and placing them in a basket by the couch is another fun way to introduce a holiday like Earth Day to your kids! Here are some that we found at our library:

  • Earth Day by Emma Carlson Berne

  • Earth Day by Clara Cella

  • We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers by Lauren Child

  • The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle : A Story about Recycling by Alison Inches

  • Our House is Round by Yolanda Kondonassis

  • Katie Saves the Earth by Fran Manushkin

  • Why Should I Recycle? by Susan Meredith

  • Earth Day – Hooray! by Stuart J. Murphy

  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Click here to see more of our favorite spring books for kids.


Earth Day Family Activity Guide

Want even more Earth Day activities for kids?

Check out our Earth Day Family Activity Guide, now available in The Play School Club!

How to Make an Awesome Christmas Busy Box for Kids!

How to Make an Awesome Christmas Busy Box for Kids!

Winter is coming, and you’re looking for simple play ideas to keep your toddlers and preschoolers learning at home. Between cold weather, rainy days, and lots of holidays preparations that keep parents busy, having a few educational activities set aside for your little ones is a smart idea! Read on to learn how to make a Christmas busy box for your kids. How to Make a Christmas Busy Box for Kids

Note: This busy box can be repurposed for a variety of seasons and holidays. The only thing “Christmasy” about it are the colors I chose — but you could easily make a similar quiet time activities using other colors and symbols!

In case you haven’t heard about busy bags or boxes before, they are simple learning activities that are typically self-contained and set aside for travel, waiting rooms, or quiet time. This Christmas busy box is similar, pulling together a group of open-ended materials that can be used in a variety ways. Toddlers and preschoolers can mix and match their toys for hours of creative play!

Best of all, these materials all fit in one small box, so they can easily travel to a relative’s house or holiday party all season long.

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

How to Make a Christmas Busy Box:

Making a busy bag or box doesn’t have to be complicated! Think of learning skills you want to target with your toddler or preschooler and gather related toys.   This Christmas busy box that I put together focuses on fine motor and counting skills. Put all your materials in a small shoe box!

Christmas Busy Box for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Click here to see a short video explaining how to use these materials in a variety of fun activities!

Recommended Materials for Your Christmas Busy Box:

You can use ANY learning toys you have around your house–these are just a few recommendations that are both quiet and easily transportable.

  • UNO cards (specifically the red and green number cards 0-9)
  • ice cube tray
  • red, green, and white pom poms
  • tweezers
  • red and green foam blocks (1 inch cubes)
  • “velcro sticks” (red and green craft sticks with velco dots on the ends)
  • red and green pegs
  • tree cookie cutter
  • green LEGOs
  • empty (clean) Parmesan cheese container
  • red and green straw pieces
  • shoelace

Have our Christmas busy box tutorial video emailed to you instantly! Fill out this form:

Did you like this post? Be sure to save it for later:

Christmas Busy Box and Activity Ideas