Travel

6 Road Trip Dos and Don'ts with Little Kids

6 Road Trip Dos and Don'ts with Little Kids

We went on our first major family road trip vacation this summer and the kids did way better than we thought - in fact, not once did we pull over and threaten to turn the car around! Based on our experience, here are our top dos and don'ts for road tripping with little kids.

10 Things You Need for Your Day Trips from Halifax

10 Things You Need for Your Day Trips from Halifax

When you plan a family fun day - or it surprises you out of nowhere! - I've found having a fully stocked "Adventure Kit" in the trunk of the car ensures you're always ready to roll with what may happen. I've got a list of things you need for your kit below.

Riverbreeze Corn Maze (without the maze)

Riverbreeze Corn Maze (without the maze)

Corn mazes are the stuff of nightmares for me. Put one directionally-challenged person in a place that is DESIGNED to get you lost and, well, let's just say it's likely I'd never been seen or heard from again. Luckily the Riverbreeze Corn Maze in Truro has lots of other activities for people who are too scared to try a corn maze...

Natural Playground in Bridgetown

Our backyard isn't your typical suburban backyard. It isn't very big and it's more bumpy than flat, so it doesn't lend itself to a typical playground set (and y'all know how much we love playgrounds!). However we are completely surrounded by trees and so we've been working on a plan to harness the landscaping and use it to our advantage, and build a natural playground. This is a playground that is built of mainly natural materials and uses the landscaping as-is, rather than trying to bend the landscaping to suit your needs.

We were recently in the Annapolis Valley staying at a family cottage and decided to pop in to the natural playground in Bridgetown for a little research. At first our kids drew up short and didn't really get it. After all, it looked nothing like the playgrounds they were used to. But then they got curious...

Note the varying heights and distances apart of the logs

Note the varying heights and distances apart of the logs

This cool rock climbing wall led to a plastic slide that was built into the grassy knoll. Miss M conquered the wall in no time.

Mr M gave it the old college try and got up with some spotting, but his legs are still a bit too short to reach the steps on his own (I Wish I Was A Little Bit Taller is his anthem).

The most exciting part for me was after we ate lunch Miss M saw some kids her age climbing the tree nearby and said she'd like to try. We don't see kids climbing trees in the city and she'd never even considered it as a possibility before I'm sure. It reminded me of what someone whom I interviewed for an article I did on risky play said:

Maura Donovan is a Dartmouth parent who is passionate about allowing children room to explore independently. She says her benchmark of a society’s comfort level of risk in play is how many children she sees climbing trees.

“I think if you’ve got four or five kids in front of you and none of them are that interested in climbing trees, that says something,” she explains. “School-age kids really like to climb trees, if they’ve been exposed to that as a possibility.”

Miss M saw that many of them were barefoot so she asked to go that way too so we obliged and she took right to it. She didn't get very high but stepped and manoeuvred and explored to her heart's content.

Miss M climbing her first tree

Miss M climbing her first tree

Our little man wanted to give it a go too and gamely climbed the gnarled and twisted tree (with a little support from Dad).

We definitely left feeling inspired to start work on our yard and need to narrow down all of our ideas to make a good plan, but I'm hoping the kids will have loads of fun exploring the "wilderness" in their own backyard for years to come. Big, flat, green, grassy lawns? Bah, who needs 'em!