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  • Reduce distractions by unplugging from electronic devices.
  • Be brave and reach outside your comfort zone to try something new.
  • Be sure to make time for naps or a little rest to recharge everybody’s batteries.
  • When planning your vacation look for things you can do in the area that are active, whether it is a walking tour of the city or a hike in the great outdoors.

Summer vacation is great for getting a rest from your routine, but it is also a wonderful time to start new routines. When planning your family’s vacation this year, find ways to work in physical activity whether you are staying at home or traveling. You may find yourself starting new healthy habits and discovering new loves.

Eliminate the Competition

Prying your kids away from their electronic devices to go do something fun or new can be a pain. It is actually easier to just leave your devices at home or only use them occasionally during long road trips or plane rides. You will get some whining, but quitting cold turkey is less painful than having to deal with poutiness every time you ask your kids to turn off their electronic devices.

Now is also a good time to evaluate your own smart phone usage. If you are checking your phone constantly, you will be missing out on an opportunity to connect with your family and to be present in the moment.

During down times or while traveling, make it a goal to try out things like books, board games, audio books, music, and car games. Having fun alternatives available can help reduce whining.

Strike a balance

Active doesn’t have to mean exhausting. Particularly if you are traveling or changing time zones, it is easy to get burnt out fast. Plan some time for more leisurely activities so you can all recharge your batteries. This is particularly important if you have a wide range of ages in your family. Younger children will have a hard time keeping up with the older kids and will do better if they don’t miss their naptimes. Keeping a regular sleep schedule can also help everybody in the family feel sharper and less cranky.

You will also need to balance different skill and maturity levels. Your older children might want to spend the day rafting, but the younger ones might be more excited about playing in the pool. Look for ways to compromise or occasionally break off into smaller groups.

Reach outside your comfort zone

You never know what activities you will love or what will inspire your children. This is a great time to try out something new. It can be something big like whitewater rafting or small like inline skating. Remember that your kids are watching you and they will take cues from your attitude. Acting brave, even when you don’t feel it, will teach them how stretch outside their comfort zone and build confidence. And show them that when they mess up or look a little goofy trying to master a new skill, it is okay to have a good laugh about it.

Look for opportunities to be active

When we think about being active we often think about sports or outdoor activities. But there are also opportunities for those who may not enjoy the great outdoors.

Here are a few ideas that have a little something for everybody:

  • Take a walking or bike tour of the city.
  • Visit a children’s museum with hands-on exhibits.
  • Find a hotel or cruise that offers things like climbing walls, tennis, dance classes, a pool, or other activities.
  • Visit a water park.
  • See if there is a zip line tour of the area.
  • Go to the zoo or aquarium.
  • Go horseback riding.
  • Go exploring or hiking.
  • Go geocaching or orienteering.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Spend time in the pool.
  • Learn how to snorkel.
  • Go canoeing, kayaking, or rafting.
  • Go camping.
  • Go skiing or snowboarding.
  • Go on a nature walk looking for things that are native to the area.
  • Visit a county fair or local amusement park.
  • Try out a ropes course.
  • Find some fun rocks to climb on.
  • Go river walking. When it is hot outside, it can be fun to hike in the river instead of alongside it. Many rivers or streams are shallow and not very fast moving, making them perfect to walk in. But keep your kids close and scout things out first to make sure it is safe.
  • Visit a u-pick farm for things like berries or apples.
  • Visit a local famer’s market.
  • Learn how to surf, water ski, or wake board.
  • If you are at the beach or shore, start a game of beach volleyball, Frisbee, or badminton.
  • Practice your swing at a driving range and then see how you all do at the golf course.
  • Visit an archery range.
  • Look for a junior ranger program in the area. Many National and State Parks have programs that children can complete to become junior rangers.

Talk to your kids

Allowing kids to help plan and decide on vacation activities is a good way to get everybody excited. Kids are more likely to participate if they have been able to help make choices. They might also have ideas you hadn’t thought of.


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Planning an active vacation

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