Screen-free summer travel


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My husband and I fell in love while traveling. Our courtship included subways, ferries, and interstate highways. We were out to see the world, and happy to be stuck in a car together for hours. Needless to say, our kids have changed the way we wander. But I am happy to report that we can still pass hours in the car together and emerge without need for a therapist.

While on the road, we find it essential to give our kids a chance to get out and move. We plan an hour-long stop if we’re driving more than three hours. A playground, park or funky town lets the kids wiggle and run, and surprisingly, it often ends up a memorable part of the trip. Do some research to find a fun place to eat and everyone is happy.

There are always the art supplies, including a notebook, scissors, tape, 10 crayons or pencils, and some half sheets of construction paper. This is all packed into a small zippered pouch that my son keeps in his backpack. That usually lasts awhile, but when boredom strikes, there is Mama’s secret stash of supplies, doled out one at a time. My stash includes washi tape, stickers (lots of stickers), gel or sparkle pens, magazines for cutting, Silly Putty, and yarn. A stack of stamped and addressed postcards can be fun for the ride home, writing or drawing about a special moment of your trip for Grandma or school friends.

There are plenty of simple travel games, some of which you probably played as a kid: I Spy, Travel Bingo, Group Storytelling. My favorite is the Question Game. I usually start with “What is your perfect weekend breakfast?” Then I move on where in the world would you like to move for one year, what super power you want. Kids and adults get asked the same questions and I am always surprised by the answers (also, it makes birthday planning much easier). Raheli Harper




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