What will you and your family do this long weekend? Will you take part in one of the many local celebrations, like Heritage Days to learn about many of the diverse cultures in our area or the Blueberry Bluegrass Music Festival to listen to some great music? Will you check out one of the city’s numerous attractions, or maybe hike or bike through the River Valley? Will you head out of the city to visit with family or friends? Or will you visit one of the many lakes not far down the road?
If you head out of town or even to one of the celebrations or attractions in your area, chances are you will find that:
- Traffic to and from will be hectic
- Long lineups will be the rule rather than the exception
- Somebody will be hungry, thirsty, or tired
- Quiet time will be needed at some point
To keep everyone happy despite these obstacles, it is a good idea to be well prepared before your long weekend adventures. Here are some things to do to make travel time more enjoyable:
- Have everyone pack an activity bag – include things like a favourite toy, books, paper and pencils/crayons/pens, a cookie sheet with some magnets (this makes a really neat portable desk for their drawings, colouring sheets, word games or activity sheets – just make sure the magnets stick to the cookie sheet and they are not too tiny), a music player with headphones so that everybody does not have to listen to your favourite music, and a travel game or two.
- Have your children help to choose and prepare individually portioned, car friendly snacks (not ones that need to be refrigerated or are messy). It’s a great way to build numeracy skills – how many containers do we need, what size should they be. It also saves money, helps cut down on the pleas for treats on the way in to the gas station, and helps avoid $5 bottles of water at the festival. You can keep the snacks all together or distribute them into the activity bags. Don’t forget the pre-moistened washcloths in a zip-lock bag.
- Involve everybody in the car in games like:
- Bingo – make up Bingo cards ahead of time with letters, numbers, or words that they will see along the way and that they can cross off the card. The first to get 15, wins!
- I Spy – make sure that what they spy is something that doesn’t just go by in a flash!
- What am I thinking of – think of something and each person gets to ask five questions to guess what you are thinking of.
- Build me a story – decide on a character and a problem they face. Each person then gets a turn to build the story for three minutes (give or take). You’ll be surprised by the twists and turns the story takes along the way!
- Sing a long – sing everybody’s favourite song at least once during your travels.
With my children off with their own long weekend plans, as many of my neighbours pack up their trailers, I look forward to:
- a visit to the library on my way home on Friday to grab a couple of books from my wish list
- a stop at the grocery store for goodies to last the weekend
- a quick change into something comfortable
- the next three days basking in the quiet of my backyard
Whatever you choose to do this long weekend, be safe and take time to enjoy it!