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February 2015

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If you’re reading this blog, you understand the value in showing your children our diverse world firsthand. Exploring various cultures and visiting new places will have a lasting impression on children – and will likely impact them as they grow into adults. Worldliness is a trait that many adults never attain, but it holds the power to help shape children into adults who appreciate the vast habitat of humanity that is our planet.

Places Your Kids Should See Before They Grow Up

Places Your Kids Should See Before They Grow Up

There are, indeed, scores of interesting places to visit; but there are a few that are extraordinarily special – even magical – for children. These places have the potential to shape the way they view the world as they grow up. As you explore the world with your children, be sure to stop at the following 10 places.

Niagara Falls

There’s something about waterfalls – especially large waterfalls – that evoke an emotional response. Whether it’s their beauty or their impressive size – probably a combination of both – large waterfalls are particularly captivating to children. Your children should experience the falls before they grow up because it will reinforce to them the majesty of the world every time they remember the visit.

London

With a plethora of things to experience, London – one of the world’s greatest cities – is obviously worthy of an extended stay or repeated visits. London is a great starter city for new traveling families because it’s foreign enough that it’s awe-inspiring, but recognizable enough to feel safe. There is a lot of culture to experience, such as a visit to the Globe Theatre to introduce kids to Shakespeare and Buckingham Palace – what kid wouldn’t like to see where a real king and queen live? Older children will enjoy the tales of and a visit to the historical Tower of London.

Redwood Forest in California

A magnificent display of redwood trees will show children that the world is truly grand – and give them something amazing by which to gauge their own size and the size of the planet. The Redwood National Park is home to the world’s largest living tree, Hyperion. It stands over 379 feet tall. Some of the older redwoods are more than 2,000 years old. How’s that for giving youngsters some unforgettable perspective?

Pyramids of Giza

One of the great mysteries of the world, the Great Pyramid and the Great Sphinx are wonderful creations for children to see. Children love to learn about ancient Egyptian society and speculate on how the pyramids were created. Be sure to plan appropriately and do your research before traveling to this area of the world. Political turmoil has created an unsteady atmosphere for tourism in some areas of Cairo in recent years, so be sure to do your research. If you’re unable to take your children to the Pyramids of Giza, consider other Egyptian locations your kids will enjoy.

The Grand Canyon

If you want your children to grow up with a realistic perspective of the world’s magnanimous and mysterious beauty, make sure to swing by the Grand Canyon. It will serve as another memorable, personal testament to their own understanding of the world’s greatness. The Grand Canyon is a great example of the world’s wonder, and this curiosity will serve your children well as they grow. There are plenty of activities available that will teach your children about the nature of the canyon, such as the Junior Rangers program for younger kids and the Canyon Field School for older kids and teenagers.

Stonehenge

As we discuss wonder and curiosity, there has to be a mentioning of Stonehenge. A kid-friendly visit to the sandstone columns will surely provoke inquisitive reactions in your children. The questions that will remain unanswered will stick with your children as they grow up appreciating the world’s many mysteries. If you want to raise children who question the world around them and appreciate its wonder, plan a trip to Stonehenge before they grow up.

New York City

A trip to the Big Apple is something every young person should experience before they become an adult. It’s basically a rite of passage. Rich in history and plenty of sights to see, NYC is also a city best explored in repeated visits or on an extended stay. Worthwhile attractions to visit include Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Of course, if you make New York City one of your repeated travel destinations, you will surely discover a few lesser-known family favorites within the metropolis.

Machu Picchu

The story behind the discovery of Machu Picchu will captivate your children as they learn about the 11-year-old boy who helped find it. Spend the day, or a few days, exploring the astounding remains of a past civilization full of wonder. Remember that part of the fun of visiting Machu Picchu is getting there. The ruins are tucked away in the Peruvian jungle, so the magic of approaching and entering it is a memory your children won’t soon forget. It will likely serve as a reminder to children that the world is still full of undiscovered marvels.

Yellowstone National Park

The nation’s first national park, Yellowstone is also worthy of an extended stay. Be prepared to live without technology – a welcomed bonus to many families – because the park is without Wi-Fi and television. Kids will see a variety of wild animals, and you should also plan to see Old Faithful. The park offers sightseeing excursions for families with kids, which can help with planning. Yellowstone National Park is a must-see for children because the nature will touch them – and stay with them – for years to come.

Galapagos Islands

Known as a showcase of evolution, a trip to the Galapagos Islands is a life-changing experience. Charles Darwin, in fact, developed his theory of evolution at this astounding location where three oceans collide. A rather unusual variety of animal life has evolved at the Galapagos Islands due to its seclusion roughly 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador. If you’re able to take your children to this fascinating location, it will serve as a lesson in natural selection and the stunning, but sometimes tragic, beauty of the world. Species fight for survival at the Galapagos Islands, but it provides a chance for an up-close look at nature in a diverse habitat.

Exploring landmarks and other breathtaking locations around the world is something not every child is given the opportunity to enjoy. If you’ve made the decision to show your children around the world, you know this list of 10 is only just the beginning. The greatest places to visit might very well be the ones tucked away in your favorite, but lesser-known, part of the world. Or perhaps the worthiest place is the one you and your family haven’t yet discovered or explored.

Kayla Matthews is a blogger interested in self-improvement, traveling and personal goal-setting. Follow her on Google+ and Twitter to read more of her latest posts.

Taking trips around the country with a caravan is one of the best vacations imaginable, but many people are hesitant on taking such trips after they have a child, fearing that it might not be able to withstand the long hours on the road and being away from home for so long.

However, the truth is that many couples take their children on caravan tours and have a great time – although additional preparation and some compromises are required, toddlers can enjoy the trip as much, if not more, than you do!

 

Taking Toddlers on Caravan Tour

Taking Toddlers on Caravan Tour

So, for your next unforgettable caravan trip with your toddler, here are thirty small but useful tips on how to make the journey a bit easier:

Plan for Plenty of Breaks. Kids get tired much quicker than adults, so if you don’t want your tired and cranky toddler to give you a headache, plan your trip in a way that takes into account plenty of breaks.

Think of Games and Entertainment. Kids get bored easily, therefore you must pack plenty of things like coloring books, games and toys to keep them occupied and entertained. Also, don’t forget to play with them – even a simple peekaboo game can help keep him calm.

Don’t Forget the Medicine. Because of the stressful conditions that come with traveling, there’s an increased chance that your child will become sick at some point on the trip. And if you don’t want to cancel the entire holiday because of it, you should better be prepared to tackle the symptoms early.

Try to Keep a Regular Schedule. If you have a toddler, you know how important it is to keep a regular daily schedule of eating, sleeping and playing. Try to not go off too far from your regular schedule on trips, or, alternatively, develop a new routine, because kids get tired easily and keeping them used to a certain timetable prevents them from getting irritated.

Keep It Dark during Night Time. The night hours of rest are precious, so you don’t want to waste them trying to get your toddler to go to sleep. It will be of great help if you can keep your caravan dark during night time with shades – a dark environment promotes deeper sleep and will contribute to you getting some rest as well.

Bring a Potty. You never know when a potty emergency might arise, so having a portable potty for your trips is essential – it saves time and can prevent some unpleasant disasters.

Be Prepared to Cook On the Road. Your kids are going through enough stress on the road as it is, and keeping them on a constant diet of service food simply aggravates them more. Having a consistent diet might prevent some tummy aches, which means your toddler will be in a better mood, which is great for everyone.

Remind Them about Safety. If he’s big enough, you can’t keep track of your toddler 100 percent of the time, so you should regularly go through the main rules of travel safety.

Make a Packing List. It comes as no surprise that toddles tend to need a lot of stuff on trips – starting with food, diapers, medicine, and finishing with their favorite toys, books and games. Make a list to make sure you don’t forget any essentials.

Choose Your Camping Site Spots Wisely. Not all camping sites are great to spend time on with a small child – some of which are difficult to reach, and thus limit your mobility if you would need to reach the road quickly. Also, they might not be safe, or not be equipped with the essentials you might need.

Keep Them Engaged During Rainy Days. Rainy days are the worst when you’re traveling, but that’s especially true when you’re with children. They can quickly get agitated if they get bored, so think of entertainment options

Utilize Driving During Sleep Time. The one thing that’s important for little children is their sleep. If they don’t get enough, your entire trip can turn into a nightmare. So try to keep your driving in check with their sleeping schedule – you’ll have some quiet time on the road.

Keep Them Entertained While Driving. If you can bring a DVD player or a laptop to your trip, you’ll have a much easier time keeping the toddler from getting bored. When you really need that break from the action, playing a movie can be the perfect solution.  

Think Ahead About Sleeping Arrangements. Toddlers often need attention during night time, so it’s a good idea to arrange their sleeping area so that you can easily reach it during the night without waking up your spouse or other children.

Fun Road Games Are a Lifesaver. Having some fun entertainment options like DVD players inside your caravan are great, but sometimes that’s not an option. Luckily, you can simply play fun road games, like the always popular I Spy, spelling games or Who Am I.  The best part is, they can be just as entertaining to adults as it is to kids.

Try to Make Home Cooked Meals. As you go on your trip, there’s enough changes in environment for the toddler as it is, so making him feel more at home with some of your home-cooked familiar dishes is a great idea. When he becomes a bit homesick, having a meal he loves might help make him feel closer to home. 

Be Organized. Kids are messy enough as it is, but when you have to live in a smaller space on a caravan, it shows even more. Therefore you have to compensate by trying to be extra organized on your part – try and put everything in place as soon as you’re doing using it, and try to instil good tidiness habits in your children as well.

Don’t Forget Warm Clothes and Blankets. Children are much more prone to getting cold than adults, so even if it’s the middle of summer, you’re still better off preparing for a few colder nights with plenty of warm clothes and blankets. It’s better to not need them than to need them and not have them.

Bring Something to Cool Down. Just as it can get cold, it can get unbearably hot while on the road as well. Having a fan, some stored ice or simply something handy to fan yourself can really be a big help.

Drive in Smaller Chunks. Everyone gets tired on long drives, but this is especially true when talking about children. Therefore if you don’t want to completely wear them out, try to plan your trip in a way that makes time for frequent stop breaks and split up your drive into smaller chunks.

Plan Your Meals. Having a specific meal time every day helps to keep a more consistent daily schedule, which means that the road trip will have less negative effects on the toddlers’ mood and even health. If he eats and naps at roughly the same time, he is more likely to feel better and thus, enjoy the trip more.

Be Liberal with Your Schedule. Of course, while maintaining a schedule is great, you have to account for the fact that sometimes toddlers are unpredictable. You might need to rest for longer than you planned – sometimes even stay for a day or two longer at a spot. Not forcing a trip schedule will make it easier to handle for your toddler, but it will also make it less stressful for you as well.

Establish Rules. Although you can’t expect your child to be perfect and act as an adult, establishing some ground rules of travel might be a good idea. If he knows what he can or can’t do during driving time, at the stops, or at camp sites, you will have an easier time taking care of him.

Be Smart About Luggage. You can’t bring everything you could possibly need on a trip because of space restrictions, so you have to think long and hard about what you really need to bring. Make lists for each area (kitchen, sleeping, entertainment etc.) and fill them over a course of a week or two, that way you should be able to think of most of the important stuff and not leave anything essential.

Always Have Snacks Handy. As you probably know all too well, kids get cranky very fast when they’re hungry. And if you’re not planning to eat soon, it can become an issue, therefore always have little snacks like healthy energy bars or fruit handy.

Try to Limit Sweets. Having to sit in a car for hours with a child that’s jacked up on sugar can be a hellish experience, so, on your trips, try to limit your kids’ sugar intake as much as possible. Substitutes, while not as exciting, are a much better choice – dried or fresh fruit and berries always work, and kids seem to like them.

Engage them In the Holiday. One thing you don’t want to do is start thinking of your toddler as “additional luggage” during your trip. Just because he might not be able to appreciate everything you’re seeing or doing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to engage them in all of your activities. Making him feel like he’s participating in something often might be enough to get him more excited as well.

Tell Your Toddler Stories. Children love stories – it’s something that can get their imaginations running wild, fascinate them and, at the same time, help them develop their creativity and perception of the world. This is very useful on the road, where it can get quite dull while traveling long distances.

Encourage Interaction. Even if your toddler is quietly sitting in the back, don’t forget about him – you should keep him engaged and talk to him regularly. Even if it’s simply making funny faces at him, any kind of interaction will prolong the time before he starts to get agitated because of long driving.

Take Plenty of Pictures. Your trip with your toddler can be one of the most memorable holidays you ever have, so you want to preserve that memory forever. Make sure you take plenty of pictures, so that you can what a great time you had when your child gets bigger.

Taking the Kids on Caravan Tour

Taking the Kids on Caravan Tour

Author Bio:
This article is written and submitted by Craig, who works with Explorex Caravans, a caravan manufacturing company based in Western Australia.

No city in the world creates the bond and love within a person that New York City does.  Tom Wolfe once said “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” 

 

New York

New York

It is not surprising that millions of families flock to the city to see the sights and experience all that New York has to offer them.  If you are planning on heading to New York here are some of the greatest sites to see and things to do with your family.  Of course there are the obvious choices but there are also the little known things that you might not know about that can really help your family have the full experience.

The Obvious

See A Show on Broadway

No New York City trip is complete without catching one of the legendary Broadway performances.  The greatest part about this is that there are really options that make seeing a show perfect for the entire family regardless of how young your children are.  While you are there make sure that you check out Times Square and create some lifetime memories just walking around together.

Visit Lady Liberty (Liberty Island)

The Statue of Liberty is likely to be one of the first things that your child thinks about when they are visiting New York.  Make sure that you talk to your child about the history of the statue and enjoy looking at its magnificence together.

Explore Central Park

While a bit of a cliche, Central Park is one of the most impressive parks in the entire world.  There is a spirit and a fellowship among the visitors to the park which makes it a worthwhile place to explore with your family.

See a Game at Yankee Stadium (One East 161st St, Bronx)

Few things are as American as baseball.  Yankee Stadium has been one of the most influential stadiums in all of baseball’s history.  Greats like Babe Ruth played for the Yankees so take your children out to learn a bit about history and catch a game in this famous stadium.

New York Family Vacation

New York Family Vacation

The Obscure

Visit FAO Schwartz (767 5th Ave)

All children love toys.  Your children will drop their jaws in amazement when you take the time to bring them to one of the greatest toy stores in all of the world.

Spend a Night with Sleep No More 
(530 W 27th Ave)

Sleep No More is a truly unique New York experience that every guest should have the joy of doing with their older children.  This experience is an interactive and adventurous walk through live theater and Macbeth.  The experience will leave you longing for more and will keep you coming back each time that you visit.

Look for a City Parks Foundation Event 
(cityparksfoundation.com)

The City Park Foundation hosts events of all types all of the time.  These events are perfect for families and are a great way to get a feel for what it is like to grow up and live in one of the greatest cities in all of the world.

Check Out Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge 
(1 Cross Bay Blvd, Far Rockaway)

This amazing refuge is the only wildlife refuge that is a National Park.  It features a number of natural landscapes where you can view wildlife in their natural habitats.

Spend a Day Exploring Coney Island (Newark)

As one of the most talked about theme parks in the US, Coney Island is a must see for every family traveling to the city.  There are rides, a boardwalk that is unlike any you will see, and a ton of fun to be had for the young and old alike.

New York With Kids

New York With Kids; Image courtesy of Hotel 41 New York

The Little Known

Check Out the Frick Collection (1 E 70th St)

The Fricks were a wealthy family that lived in upper New York.  Mr Frick collected an amazing collection of artwork that you can check out today, housed in his former residence.

Go to the Green Market (1368 York Ave)

One of the most exciting markets in all of New York City is the Green Market.  The Green Market is a great place to score a great piece of unique and interesting artwork or to be able to grab a bite to eat from a real New York City food truck.

Shop at the Palisades Center 
(1000 Palisades Center Dr, West Nyack)

The Palisades Center is a short car ride out of the city but as one of the largest malls in the world and home to more than 400 stores, it is the shopping experience of a lifetime.  You will love being able to find everything that you could imagine in one place.

Take a Ferry to the Staten Island Zoo 
(614 Broadway, Staten Island)

Your children will love the experience of a ferry ride to the zoo.  The zoo is home to a number of unique exhibits and is mostly visited by locals.  It is a great little zoo that is prefect for a relaxed day out with your family.

Skip to Madame Alexander Doll Company 
(615 W 131st St, 6th Floor)

Little girls will stand in awe at all of the dolls on display at the Madame Alexander Doll Company.  These beautiful dolls are known around the world as being the most exclusive dolls and are something that little girls will dream of holding and playing with.  Take a walk throughout their showroom and explore the gallery of dolls to see all of the famous dolls of the past.

NYC Family vacation

 

NYC Family vacation

Visiting New York City is something that falls on the bucket lists of families around the globe. If you are going to be visiting the city the above offers you a list of must see attractions and even includes some that are almost exclusive to the families who reside in the city. Ofcourse you will need also a budget and family friendly accommodation, so here is a list that should help further: http://patch.com/new-york/longbeach/family-friendly-hotels-new-york