Remember those sunny, summer days of family vacays? When your parents broke away from the day-to-day so you could simply be together? Can you believe our kids may not have those lifelong memories? Studies show family vacations are more important than ever before, but today's parents don't use all their time off and "technoference" interrupts time with kids even on trips.
As technology pulls us inside, away from nature and sometimes away from each other, more families opt for active, outdoor adventures that demand digital detox. But with the impact family vacations have on kids, why wait for your next trip? Here are five ideas to make memories anytime.
1. Go to the "beach"
Bring the best of the beach to your backyard. Water? Check. Inflatable pools are so hot right now that you can find them online for less than the price of puddle jumpers. Sand? Yaaas. The kinetic kind makes for even better sand castles because it molds, won’t stick to your hands (and absolutely every part of your kids), and never dries out so you can use it again and again. Sun? Plentiful in summer. Just grab your suits. Bonus beach points for a sprinkler or slip ‘n’ slide. Oh, and tropical drinks for everyone.
2. Go to the "mountains"
Part of the excitement when heading for the hills is collecting your gear. Take the kids to an outdoor store like REI to look for (or just at) supplies. Explore aisle after aisle of bright nylon and cool gadgets. Maybe even treat the kids to something small like a flashlight or headlamp. Later, set up a tent in the backyard and equip it with all your outdoor items. Make hot dogs and s’mores in the microwave. Tell stories under the stars. Sleep in your sleeping bags – and still sneak in to go to the bathroom.
3. Go to "another country"
You don’t always need to take a long flight to venture to a new country and culture. Indulge your culinary curiosity and make a few new foods. For instance, Argentine empanadas are a cinch to make with pizza dough and kids’ favorite fillings from savory meats to fruity sweets. Visit the library to find a few books or movies about Argentina to learn more about the place, people, history, food and drinks. Then enjoy your authentic meal al fresco with fun candles or party lights.
4. Go to "Disney"
Instead of venturing all the way to the Sunshine State, encourage the kids to dress up as or bring out their favorite Disney characters. You can find a mini movie projector for as much as movie theatre tickets for a family of four. Add a sheet and fire up your home theatre. Make a nest of blankets outside and enjoy a Disney classic with some theme snacks. Better yet, kick off the magical night by showing a glimpse of the Enchanted Tiki Room with a homemade Dole Whip – no lines required!
5. Go to the "games"
Why wait another two years for the Summer Olympics? Divide the kids and their friends into teams, and ask them to come up with names and uniforms. Then organize some DIY activities. You can play Twister with circle stencils and spray painted grass or Memory with painted cork tiles. You can also compete in Outdoor Pictionary with driveway drawings and a Balloon Toss to cool off. Come evening, get crazy with Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling using glow sticks in water bottles. Let the quality time begin!