Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adventure at the Park

It's Tuesday and I got travel on my mind with my tot... travel to far away places where it feels like fall. But reality sinks in when I consider that in the next three months we already have major travel and events planned: My brother's wedding in early Nov, my godparent's 50th wedding anniversary in Monterry, MX; two friends' weddings; three birthdays; a few bridal and baby showers. That's not even considering the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday travel! So how can we fulfill our travel urge without further stressing our already packed calendar, or wallets?

How about the park? Yes the PARK. Any park you and your kids like as long as it's an actual park and not just a playground Look for picnic tables, trees, and an open area to run and play. Here are some tips to make your everyday trip to the park feel like you're on holiday.

  • Make sure to pack the essentials: change of clothing for all kids (and maybe for the adults also), sunblock, bug spray, first aid kit, camera, snacks, and plenty of water. Music is also nice so bring a radio, iPod, etc. if you can.
  • Prepare your age appropriate activities: scavenger hunts, nature walks, bike ridding, races, crafts, Frisbees, catch or football, etc. Some great memories of travel as kids for my brother and I include visits to parks where we met up with family for food, fun, games, and community. Try to make it a daylong affair (at least 5 hours) or if you have small children half day (3 or 4 hours max)
  • Plan a picnic or cook-out. Yes you can run to a fast food place and pick-up something but that is much more ordinary than "special" food packed in a basket or waiting for the burgers and hotdogs to be done while mom or dad stand at the grill.
  • If you have a small or medium tent bring one with you and set it up. It works great for young kids as a place to nap or older kids as a fort. It can be a changing room, a shelter from sun or unexpected rain, etc.

The key to a great day is to approach it as an adventure. From collecting rocks, leaves, and insects; to playing tag- your day at the park with the kids can be as much fun as any other trip sans the airfare, bags, and hotel.
Reality: there's nothing like your own bed after a long fun day especially for your tots.