As our kids are growing up, we find ourselves on a constant search for something to do with them and somewhere to go. Kids are insatiable when it comes to activities. For the most part, this is a good thing. Our kids are curious and want to engage in the world around them. As parents, keeping them entertained can become a daunting and expensive task.
When my kids were little, I had to work with a very small budget. We were living on one income and I had to get pretty creative to stretch it out. But I wanted my kids to have a variety of experiences with the world, to love exploring, to love learning. So I created a version of family fun that was not only affordable but was downright extraordinary.
We called it: The Adventure Trip.
Here’s how it works: You pack a couple of simple foods. For us, it was usually just a loaf of bread or some pitas and a block of cheese. Sometimes, we’d toss in an apple pie as well. We’d have a big bottle of water to share and that was about it. Oh, and a map. We didn’t have GPS back then.
Then, we’d pile in the car and decide which direction to go. North, South, East or West? Then, we’d just drive.
We had no destination in mind. We just drove. Once we were away from home, we got off the highway and began driving back roads. We went through farmland and mountains. If a road looked appealing, we took it. If we felt like it was time to change direction, we did. And the idea was, if we saw something interesting, we stopped to investigate. This could be as simple as a patch of wildflowers or as big as a historic home.The places we discovered were amazing!
One time, we turned down a dirt road to follow a sign for an apple orchard. Instead, we found a vineyard we decided to check out. It was breathtaking, perched on a hill, overlooking the Hudson river. It turned out to be the retirement venture of an artist. He gave us a tour and showed us his studio. He told us all about his career. He had been the front cover artist for the Saturday Evening Post. We bought a signed print from him. I later found out that he went on to become the father of the winemaking renaissance of Hudson Valley. And we spent an afternoon with him.
Another trip, we discovered a honey farm. We were walking up to the stand when we suddenly noticed a bear behind a fence right next to us. I jumped about ten feet. It turned out the bear had been a popular mascot prior to his retirement, participating in events all over the country. We bought some honey as a souvenir. It was the most unusual honey farm we ever found. But we didn’t stay too long. Bears scare me!
We found an old monastery that still manufactured glass. We found one of the country’s largest outdoor flea markets. We found an amazing two-story candy store.
We discovered hidden waterfalls and antique covered bridges. Any river or lake that we passed, we would pull over and go swimming. Any tree that looked particularly interesting, we would stop and climb.
We were modern-day explorers. Every trip was exciting and we never knew what we would find. Sometimes, it was just a patch of wild blackberries. Other times, it was a formerly famous black bear. And all it cost was a tank of gas.
So if you’re lost for ideas on what to do with your kids this weekend, get out and get lost with your kids. You just might discover some memories that will last a lifetime. It might not be completely free, but it’s definitely priceless.
Your thoughts, comments and suggestions are always welcome!
- Outdoor adventures.. (artsyprincess.wordpress.com)
- Teaching Kids How to Avoid Getting Lost and What to Do If It Happens (greatkids.outdoors.org)
- Creative and Cheap Things to do With Your Kids at Home (momof6loves.hubpages.com)
- 3 Simple Family Bonding Ideas (modernmom.com/users/wendy-irene)