Summer is a time of explorations, and no one enjoys exploring more than our children. In these days of far-flung families and friends, many of us are looking ahead to a few trips to see our dear but not so near this summer. The lucky among us may have a vacation journey with the kiddos in the works as well.
We're making plans, pondering travel schedules and itineraries, studying maps, and getting the whole family packed and organized. Whew! In our haste, let’s not forget that our kids want to come along for more than just the ride. Given the chance, they’d really like to get in on the planning too. Naturally, they’ll be making known their fervent desire for a trip to Disneyland, but even if that mecca is not on the itinerary, our little ones will want to understand where they are going and how they’ll get there. This spontaneous curiosity is a great excuse to give our kids their first sense of the scale and terrain of this vast land we inhabit and a bit of its history too. After all, the 4th of July is just a few days away!
So, if you don’t have a map of the USA up in your house, now’s the time to put one up. For clever inspiration, see one our favorite Design Mom posts on the subject here. And the children will also be fascinated by more detailed road maps of the localities you’ll be traveling through—so much so that they'd love to have their own copy to follow along with markers, and otherwise adorn.
Families are not the only ones heading out on adventures near and far. Savvy is also gearing up for a virtual road trip. We'll be revisiting our favorite books about the USA, gathering tips for trips to the National Parks with preschoolers, reading maps with our little ones, and seeking out road trip advice from the veterans.
As inspiration for the journey, we're teaching our kids a few odes to America's geography and spirit. As car songs go, you can't do much better than Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" (listen to Guthrie himself here and Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen singing with the crowds at the Inauguration Concert here). And of course there's no grander evocation of the country's geography than "America The Beautiful" (for Beyonce's gorgeous interpretation at the Inauguration, see here).
Happy travels, everyone!
The National Park Service (NPS) has a wealth of information for families and individuals traveling to the lands they oversee, including national parks, national monuments, national historical sites. The list really does go on and on! If you will be t... read more
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't enjoy studying history in school. I'm sure it was partly because immersing myself in history just wasn't a priority in my life—not like leg warmers and big hair were. But I also think my teachers could have ... read more