There’s always something magical about summer vacations, even if you never venture farther than your backyard. You have days of uninterrupted time with you kids and none of the pressures of daily life. What’s better than that? Making sure those memories last and last. We’ve got four fun activity ideas to help you do exactly that. Summer vacation forever!
Going on a hike in the woods? Have your kids pick a few vivid and fragrant wildflowers along the way. When you get back, find a heavy book, cut two sheets of paper to fit inside, and sandwich the flowers in between the sheets. Close the book and stack a few others on top. Wait two weeks and let your kids open the book to see their creation. Once pressed, they can glue the flowers into memory books or photo albums.
Paint the Sunset
Stash a couple kids’ watercolor sets in your suitcase, and one night have the kids paint the gorgeous colors of the twilight sky. Don’t forget to jot down the date and location—then frame their masterpieces when you get home!
Make a Beach Jar
Heading to the water? Pack a small mason jar for each child and encourage the kids to fill it with special finds: beautiful shells, shiny rocks, a scoop of sand. Later, they can even write down (or draw pictures of) their favorite memories of the trip to slip inside as well.
Create Photo Magnets
Let the kids loose with the camera, then help them print their favorite shots on magnetic photo paper (available at craft stores). They can slap them on the fridge and even their lockers when they get back to school. Summer will never be far!
Make a Scent Map
Take a walk (or three!) during your trip and prompt your kids to “stop and smell the roses” along the way. Give them each a little notebook to jot down what they smell at each destination. When you get back home, have them draw a map (or better yet, annotate a real one!) and illustrate the smells of each place. Because the part of the brain that deals with scents is tightly connected to the area that processes memory and emotion, simply thinking about certain smells can help your kiddos create vivid memories of their vacation. What's better than that?
Bring Your Vacation Scents Home
If you let your kids pick their favorite smelling wildflower or herb they encounter on the trail, you can easily bottle it up so they can smell it anytime they’d like. Instruct each child to grind their favorite scent with a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have a set, they can smash the flower or herb with a rock. Then, tell them to add about a cup of water to the crushed plants (you can also add a few drops of alcohol, if you choose), then steep overnight. Strain the mixture with a coffee filter and pour into a spare spray bottle. They can open it whenever they miss vacation or spritz it their room. Tell them they can also mix and match different herbs and flowers if they want to remember a scent a little off the beaten path!