catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 9, Num 1 :: 2010.01.08 — 2010.01.21


Ten things you can do to make your family vacation more community-building

  1. Stop at state or national parks and go for hikes together sometimes.
  2. Pack a picnic for your first meal.  Eat in a park.
  3. On long trips, leave the backseat DVD player at home.  Instead, read aloud to each other or listen to a book on CD.  A DVD player in the back seat tends to create a backseat focus and a front seat focus.  An audio book is something everyone can participate in.
  4. Instead of four or five iPods, with each family member off in their own soundtrack world, work out a plan to share the car stereo.  One plan involves each family member getting to choose one CD or radio station for a set amount of time.    Another is that you divide into parent and kid groups.  One group gets to pick the station while the other determines the volume; then, after half an hour, switch.  There can be a certain set time during the day when everyone may have his or her own music for half an hour as well.
  5. Instead of a fast food meal on the go, stop at a locally-owned restaurant.  The food is often better and you are bound to end up with a story or two to tell.
  6. Stop for ice cream, too.
  7. Camp.  Although some family members might not like the idea at first, camping provides opportunities to work together, cook together, sit around a campfire together and talk together. 
  8. If you are camping and it rains, eat out for breakfast.  If it rains really hard, take down your tent and go to a hotel room.  There is no shame in this and your children will be grateful. 
  9. Never be in such a hurry that you can’t stop at the Spam Museum or the Corn Palace or anything else that takes your fancy.
  10. The amount of money you spend on an amusement park or similar attraction tends to be inversely proportional to the amount of community fun involved.  Thus a $15 canoe rental or a $5-per-head admission to the Tri-Cities Boxcar Museum is likely to be way more community-building (and more fun) than a $30-a-piece admission to Mega-Cosmic Corporate-Funland Amusement Park.

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