So you’re getting ready to get the family all back together for Thanksgiving! The bad news is that this often means getting your immediate family together for a trip. That’s particularly tough when you’re traveling with kids. And I’m pretty sure that I’m not showing my age when I say that these kids today get bored quicker than we ever did. Attention spans have to be hitting record lows. I know they are in my house, and it’s not like I’ve gone crazy letting them go nuts on the internet and with video games. I’ve just gone crazy.
But I’ve also found a pretty smart way to keep the kids entertained on a long trip. You don’t have to be a professional writer and/or editor to try convincing your kids to start writing to amuse themselves. I’ve found that a Travel Diary is a great way to keep a kid occupied and to also make him or her feel involved in the trip. I didn’t invent the idea, of course. This has been around long enough to have once been a Travel Journal–but, thanks to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the word “diary” now seems like a lot more fun.
There are the usual things about a travel diary that makes it sound really good for a kid. It’s writing, and gives them a way to express any frustrations they might have with traveling (since that kind of thing comes up), and it’s also a nice time capsule of a day or two in your family’s life. You can’t just hand them a notebook, though. Make it a short notepad, instead. No reason to put a lot of pressure on your kid to fill up the whole thing. In fact, bring along three or four. If your child surprised you by really going on a tangent, then you’re all set to just keep adding additional volumes of your epic family trip.
Set aside some pages in the diary for random drawings, sketches, and other indulgences. You can also get your child started by writing ahead a few vital topic headings, like Who Is On The Trip, Places We Went To (And Why They Matter), Best Part Of The Day (for each day), and People We Met.
A good Travel Diary will make the Thanksgiving (or Christmas, or Summer Vacation) Journey pass by easily. And, as noted, you might end up with something memorable–which reminds me of the most important thing. Bring along a sealable plastic bag big enough to hold your Travel Diaries and keep them safe from things like spills and other disasters. Traveling is messy, after all, and it’s good to be prepared.