Today’s guest post is by Terri Weeks and Laura Hoevener, family travel authors from Cincinnati, Ohio. They are the authors of Adventures Around Cincinnati: A Parent’s Guide to Unique and Memorable Places to Explore With Your Kids (www.adventuresaroundcincinnati.com) Both have been attending Hearts at Home conferences since 2002. Terri also blogs about US Travel at www.travel50stateswithkids.com.
We didn’t start out with any aspirations to write a book. We were just two moms who wanted to explore all our city had to offer. One day on a park outing, we discussed the idea of getting together on a regular basis with our kids to explore our city as tourists would.
We decided to meet every Tuesday that summer and visit a different attraction. Summer Adventures were born! After a few weeks, we started referring to our outings as Adventure Tuesday. After a few years, we started speaking to moms’ groups in our area. A few years after that, we wrote and published the book we wish we’d had when we started.
No matter where you live, here are three easy steps to help you plan a summer filled with memories that will last a lifetime:
1. Start a bucket list of places you want to visit.
Both of us have a designated spot for saving tourist brochures, articles we’ve torn out of newspapers or magazines, and any other information relating to a future adventure. When time permits, we compile that information into a master list that we keep on our computer.
2. Form a plan of attack.
We highly recommend the strategy of choosing a mom friend to accompany you on adventures: it helps to hold you accountable and is more fun that way. If you designate one day each week as Adventure Day, it makes it easier to plan other activities around it.
But that’s not the only way to include adventures in your life. One family we know plans their adventures for Fridays. The dad takes a half-day of vacation every Friday in the summer and the entire family goes on an adventure together. Another option is to designate an entire week for a staycation.
3. Plan a balanced schedule.
We like to plan a broad variety of experiences each summer. We’ve divided our bucket list into categories, so we can easily ensure a diverse mix. Picking one or two adventures from each of the following categories is a recipe for success:
Animals –zoos, farms, parks, aquariums
Art – art museums, sculptures, murals
Beach – look for a nearby lake with a beach
Factory Tour – www.factorytoursusa.com is a great resource
Farm – either a typical farm, historical farm, or a pick-your-own fruit farm
Historical – historical sites with hands-on displays are best for younger kids
Just for Fun – playgrounds, amusement parks, water parks, other recreational activities
Nature – parks, nature preserves, gardens
Museum – not just the big ones; consider smaller, specialty museums too
Other – anything that doesn’t fit into one of the other categories
We like to plan a schedule, but have enough flexibility to change it in case of rain, etc. Once you have your schedule, keep your commitment to yourself and enjoy! Before you know it, the summer will be over, but you’ll be able to look back at all the memories you made together with your kids and have no regrets!