Friday, May 16, 2008

But, I Don't Want To Go THERE!

Probably, the most annoying question after, "Are we there yet?," has to be, "Why do we have to go THERE?," or some variation, accompanied by a high pitched nasal whine, the likelihood of a few tears, and some possible rolling on the ground.

Now, I've never had to deal with any of this because my trips go to only the funnest places AND my kids never whine. Ok, Ok, Drew, cut the crap. I've picked places to go that my kids found boring and the whining never seemed to end. So, how do you avoid having this happen with your kids?

When I first conceived of my "Adventure Days" with my kids, the basic idea was to get them out of the house once a week so my wife could have a break. The first time I put them in the car, my intention was to take them to the park for an hour or two. Instead we ended up at the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, looking down into one of the largest holes in the world- and they loved it.

Subsequent "Adventure Days" were done with only slightly more planning (and still with the intention of giving my wife a break). I would find a place, somewhere in Utah that sounded kind of neat and we would hop in the car and drive there. This is the way we ended up on Antelope Island, at the Park City Silver Mine Adventure, Hogle Zoo, the Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Museum, and quite a number of other places.

I soon discovered two things- a) I had to be more careful about how much these little adventures cost, and b) I had to be a little more prepared, both in terms of where we were going and how to keep the kids interested in each adventure.

I quickly learned that there were many places that were inexpensive or free where we could have a good time- thus, I now share with you, "Things To Do, Utah."

I also learned that, knowing where I was going a few days ahead of time, let me prepare to help the kids enjoy the adventure. So here are just a few suggestions that I have come up with to help the kids enjoy every "Adventure Day" you go on with them.

1. Know before you go. If you plan to take them to, say, a dinosaur museum, get some books ahead of time about dinosaurs. There is this FREE thing called a library that has lots of great books about a lot of different subjects. Read stories to your littlest ones about dinosaurs. Get the older kids to pick out a book of their own on dinosaurs and challenge them to learn something BEFORE the trip. Knowing something about what you are going to see or do makes the activity a lot more fun. Take the books along with you when you go.

2. Many locations, such as museums, exhibits, libraries, parks, etc., have days with activities specifically for kids. When the kids can get involved in these free programs by making some crafts, participating in a lecture, or just by coloring something, they take home a much greater appreciation of the place they visited.

3. Even if there may not be a formal activity time for the kids, some places will put information up on their websites to help you have a fun visit with the kids. For example, the Utah State government website has a printable "Museum Treasure Hunt" form. Print this out and give it to the kids each time you go to a museum. If you visit five museums for example, each time you go, they can take their form along with them and try to find the "treasures" that are listed. It may take visits to several museums to find all the "treasures."

4. Prepare yourself. Read up a little on dinosaurs, or the old west, or railroads, etc. If you are able to answer some of your children's questions while you are on an adventure with them, they will enjoy it more. Plus, it makes you look really smart.

5. Have fun. Get involved with your kids as much as possible. When they can see that you are enjoying the adventure, they will be much more likely to enjoy it themselves.

If you have any other ideas on how to help kids enjoy a day at a museum, a cave, a park, on a hike, or anything else you can think of, leave a comment and we will share it with everyone.

1 comment:

katrina said...

Thank you so much for all these great ideas and tips. you are a savior :)