Does your family love a good road trip or travel adventure around the world? Exposing children to different cultures and experiences, along with that treasured family time, is priceless. Make sure you’re recording your experiences so that the memories can be tracked and treasured forever.
Fun Ways To Track and Record Family Travels
- Pin map. Hang or frame (without glass) a large map of the world in your home. Assign a different pin color to each person and let them put pins in the map for all the different places they have traveled.
- Travel scrapbook. Create a special book just for family adventures. Along with photos, add postcards, maps, brochures, ticket stubs and other memorabilia from the different places you’ve been.
- Travel shelf. Dedicate a shelf or two in your home just to showcase items from places you’ve visited. Each time you go somewhere new, have everyone in the family agree upon one item to purchase to add to the family travel shelf.
- Travel journal. Buy a blank journal for your family to record their thoughts together or give your kids a predesigned template like REI’s Family Adventure Journal [PDF].
- Photo book. Create a printed, professionally-bound photo book for each adventure. Include text/quotes from each person about their favorite parts of the trip.
- Corkboard map. Design a blank corkboard map like this blogger did, and create cute little tags to pin to the parts of the map you’ve traveled to. Include dates, city name and any other important details.
- Travel chest. Find a fun box to keep all travel-related souvenirs in. Much like the scrapbook (postcards, maps, etc) this can also include items that don’t lay flat in a book.
This month, our new Smithsonian Young Explorers: 50 States hits the shelves. Filled with fun facts about each state, it’s the perfect hands-on activity for your kids ages 6 and up. Here is a sampling of fun facts about the United States, from this kit, that you may not know:
- The smallest police station is in Carrabelle, Florida. It’s a converted phone booth.
- It is against the law to play dominoes anywhere in Alabama on Sundays. It’s also against the law to wear a fake moustache to church just to make people laugh.
- Hawaii is the only state in the nation that is getting bigger, thanks to all of its active volcanoes.
- Boston University Bridge in Massachusetts is the only bridge in the United States where a boat can sail under a train, that is choo-chooing under a car, that is driving under an airplane.
- There is no way to drive into Juneau, Alaska’s capital. You can get there only by plane or ferry.
- Magic Castle in Hollywood, California, is the headquarters for the Academy of Magical Arts. Only magicians and their guests are allowed in. And, you have to know the secret password.
- Kangaroo rats living in Nevada’s deserts can live their whole life without drinking one drop of water.
- The street names for the game Monopoly come from Atlantic City, New Jersey.
- Buford, Wyoming, is the smallest town in the nation. It covers ten acres and has just one resident.
- It’s against the law in Mount Pulaski, Illinois, for boys to throw snowballs at trees, but girls can lob snowballs at trees all they like.
(All fun facts are taken from our Smithsonian Young Explorers: 50 States fact book.)
Journey across the country with the Smithsonian and learn all about what makes our nation so great with Smithsonian Young Explorers: 50 States. This alphabetically arranged compendium of state trivia contains information on state birds, animals, and flowers, famous state residents, and a gaggle of fun facts. Once kids have become experts on Alabama through Wyoming, they can have more fun assembling the included 130-piece puzzle of the United States. The adorably illustrated puzzle and map gives kids extra opportunities to learn about the 50 states and basic geography. And once kids are ready to see the states themselves, the book, puzzle, and map all tuck neatly into a snap-shut suitcase, ready to hit the road.
Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
32-page fact book, plus 130-piece floor puzzle and giant foldout poster of the U.S.
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