1. Fuel Their Interests/Talents: Many kids attend summer camps around their sports, music or drama interests, so why not include a family vacation stop as a destination that supports and expands their interests? Maybe the family drama queen/king might love a stop at an Oregon Shakespeare Festival performance during your trip through the North West. My 10 year old is a serious Paleontologist wannabe, so our family participated in a Paleontologist-for-a-day "Dino Dig" program in Thermopolis Wyoming. We planned this as the first stop on our two week+ first-ever driving vacation last summer, and the fossils we dug up are now officially cataloged with our names as the ones who "discovered" them. We actually got to dig up and touch rocks that were once bones 65 million years ago...how cool is that?! Our stop-over on the way from our Northern California home to Wyoming was also the World's Largest Dinosaur Museum near Salt Lake City, Utah...yes, he really does want to be a Paleontologist when he grows up! Getting late elementary school to middle school aged children thinking about how their interests and talents might fit into their adult lives will help fuel their passion and focus through the tough times of puberty.
Since I'm sure you don't want the type of unique family vacation the Griswalds usually have, start with one big destination, and plan uniqueness around that. When you tailor the standard family trip around the uniqueness of the family members, you produce a more memorable, less stressful vacation for all - not to mention less bickering when the kids know they are doing stuff they love! There is only one drawback to this type of trip...now you need to plan ALL your vacations like this! Enjoy!
Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
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