summer family travel
It’s that time of year, when many families are thinking about a summer bucket list. This year is different than most and, while it might seem frustrating at first, the idea of staying home could be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect in a more meaningful way—with each other and with the world.
In our family we opted to look at the bright side, adding some entirely new elements of fun to our traditional summer bucket list, including a summer reading club and a virtual travel challenge.
Summer Reading Club
We love books. It is one of the best ways to travel with our kids, without ever leaving home. Every year our local library (like many) hosts a summer reading program to prevent the summer slide. Our girls always sign up, but time inevitably gets away from us and we fail to keep pace with our good intentions…
This year, we decided to add a reading log to our bucket board (that’s right, we have a whole board!), along with some fun rewards to keep everyone motivated. To get—and keep—the girls excited, I had them choose ten age-appropriate books that they will read over the next 6-8 weeks.
Each time they finish one, it gets added to our reading log. When they are finished reading all ten, they will receive an agreed-upon reward—nothing too expensive, just something to keep them progressing towards a goal. Both girls chose a Barbie doll this year.
Whether you call it positive reinforcement or bribery, it works.
Virtual Travel Challenge
To spice things up, and keep them on the travel train, I also added a virtual travel challenge. Any time the girls feel like it, they can choose from a lengthy list of global landmarks—for example, Petronas Towers or Torii Gate. Since we have an Orboot, they can either look up the location on the globe to learn about it, or we can check out a book from our library.
Once they complete their mission, they receive an explorer badge with a smaller reward written on it. These cost nothing, but instead offer our kids some fun ways to make the most of their summer. For example:
- Stay up 2 hours past bedtime
- Have a living room slumber party
- Bake a cookie cake
- Go night swimming
We came up with these ideas together so I know it’s something the kids will get excited about.
It’s Never Too Late
We usually start our bucket board a bit sooner, but this year it didn’t happen until July. Not to worry, if it rolls into the school year, then so be it. There’s no right or wrong way to do any of this. The idea is to sit down with your little ones and find a creative way to explore new ideas and experiences together, as a family—at any time of year.
Many of us may not be accustomed to this kind of quality time at home, so let’s make the most of this special (unexpected) time together.