This summer, I’m going to be talking about a variety of topics and using some of our favorite games as a jumping off point. To make things more fun, if you have family game night, post a picture and tag me. For every picture, your family will be entered in a drawing for a “family game night” themed basket. We’ll be doing a drawing at the end of the summer. You get two entries if you’re playing the game I’m highlighting that week.
This game we affectionally call, “the train game” is a favorite of ours. There are a lot of versions of Ticket to Ride, but we like the US version the best because they’re cities we’re more familiar with which helps because the game can be a little challenging for little ones. I recommend renting the game from the library to try it out since it’s not cheap. In this game, you need to complete routes by collecting and laying down the necessary colored cards. You then use your trains to mark the completed routes.
Ticket to Ride makes me want to travel. When I see all the cities on the map, I find myself thinking, “We should go there.” Maybe you have a lot of travel planned for the summer. Whether it’s a big trip or just a fun staycation, there are things you can do to make your travel more fun.
For road trips:
1. Allow the car trip to be part of the fun. Try to find interesting stops along the way. Maybe just a scenic view or a fun restaurant. Last year we drove to Florida. We planned a stop in Savannah since we’d never been there as a family. The kids loved the laid back feel of the city and we visited an art museum with all kinds of beautiful pieces. We could have stayed in a cheaper hotel along the freeway, but Savannah became one of our favorite places because we chose to stop there instead. If you’re spending a lot of time in the car, I recommend audiobooks. Maybe even look for books that take place in the region your visiting just to get into that mood. And don’t forget to also schedule a little downtime. Once, on a trip to Boston, we stopped at a park on the way. Sure, it took an extra hour, but after running around and being active, the kids were much easier to deal with in the car for the remainder of the day. You can race to get there with just a few breaks or drive thorough the night. That works for some people, but we like to make the road trip part of the fun.
If you’re flying:
I don’t have a ton of tips on flying with the family since we rarely do it with our kids, but I know it’s much less stressful if you allow plenty of time. Being rushed at the airport (especially with kids) is a nightmare. This is going to be a big summer for travel, so expect crowds. Don’t book trips with really short layovers because you don’t want to be the family running through the airport. If you’re familiar with Ticket to Ride, it can get pretty stressful. You know where you need to lay down trains and sometimes someone else is also trying to claim those spots. It feels a little like being at the airport with kids. My advice? Take your time. Sometimes when you’re going through security, you feel like you have to rush to make it faster for those behind you. But, here’s the truth; people aren’t usually very efficient when they’re rushed, so it may take even longer. Take your time and relax a little.
Neither are we. Because of sports and summer theatre, we’re not doing a trip this summer. That doesn’t mean we can’t find fun things to do around here. Make a list of things places you’ve been meaning to check out that you never have and see how many you can check off. When it comes to social media, you can either live vicariously through others’ vacations or you may need to take a break so you aren’t inundated with hundreds of pictures of other people on the beach each day. It’s easy to feel discontent when you see other people having a blast on vacation, so decide how social media is affecting your mood and choose to step away if you need to.
If you’re like me, your summer will consist of lots of little trips around town. We have 8-10 trips to the pool each week for swim practices. We also have 3-4 trips to the theatre for rehearsals. In Ticket to Ride, you get points for all of the trips you complete. Why not reward yourself the same way? Keep track of all the “trips” you complete and treat yourself to a fancy coffee drink or a fun date night after a certain number. However you’re traveling this summer, try to make the journey a fun and memorable one. Who knows? Your kids may remember the time in the car with just as much nostalgia as the destination.