indulging · travel

Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

Help kids remember a trip
Those are my little world travelers – our first home exchange – Palais Royale, Paris France

When we travel as a family to spots near and far, I want my kids to remember the trip. Sometimes they need a little help, especially if they’re young. The first home exchange we did to Paris when our kids were 5-years-old and 7-years-old was when I realized they may not remember the trip unless I helped them. These methods help kids remember because they have to perform an act themselves: read, write, and draw. It also helps when the parents do these activities as well and I admit, sitting down to sketch is not my first choice at all (my husband forces us to do it and I’m always glad when we get home) but it does make me stop, look around, and take it all in, which is what I want to be doing on a trip. Take time to do these activities with your family and your trip will definitely be one that is remembered.

Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

It’s easy to help kids remember a vacation and it may help you remember your vacation, too.

Before you head off to your destination, grab a stack of books and read up on where you’ll be going and not just non-fiction, fact oriented books. Story books and fiction stories set in your vacation spot is the way to get kids (and adults) immersed without anyone even realizing it! No, I’m not above tricking my kids or myself into learning! There are books for all ages and levels of readers about a city, state or country. When we decide to travel somewhere, I search our library website for books to read. Going to Paris? Yes, Madeline, is a good place to start.

[amazon_image id=”B0016HCH1G” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Madeline[/amazon_image]

What if your destination is Amsterdam? You have to tour the Anne Frank house. We all enjoyed this book before we went on our trip.

[amazon_image id=”0789473798″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]DK Readers: The Story of Anne Frank (Level 3: Reading Alone)[/amazon_image]

I also love every book that Bob Raczka has written about art. They’re simple, easy to read books and are helpful for any age to catch up on their art history before heading to a famous museum or two.

[amazon_image id=”1580138241″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Name That Style: All About Isms in Art (Bob Raczka’s Art Adventures)[/amazon_image]

Our trip to the Netherlands and the land of Vincent Van Gogh was so much better because of this book.

[amazon_image id=”0761316485″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]No One Saw[/amazon_image]

No, I’m not talking about a big, empty journal with pages of overwhelming space to fill. Cut up paper into little squares (lined, acid free paper is what I use) and have your gang jot down a brief recap of the day. With small squares of paper, the journal entry doesn’t have to be long or involved. I like to include the date (that helps me keep track of the days) and the child’s age. Kids’ little writing is sweet to look back on when they’re older.

Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

My husband and I write on these squares of paper, too, but we don’t write our ages, just the date.

Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

Travel with a small sketch pad and drawing pencils. This does not need to be fancy or expensive. I recently picked up a travel sketch kit at an estate sale for $1 and it has gone with us on several trips already.

Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

It has pencils and charcoals inside and came with a sharpener, too. It also came with a larger sketch pad that my husband uses. He likes a bigger sketch space.

Sketch pad with pencils

I cut the sketch papers so they’ll fit in an album later. For me, I like a smaller sketching paper than a big one – less blank space to fill up!

Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

I have to be forced to sit down and sketch every day when we’re on a trip but by slowing down, observing, and drawing, I find that I appreciate where we are more than if I just rushed off to another museum. Find shade, enjoy a picnic lunch, and after you’re done with your drawing, you can take a nap!

Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

This goes without saying. Take lots of pictures. When we get home, I make an album of the trip. (I mostly get to the albums but I’m a little behind in my album making right now.) But, with the journal squares, drawings and pictures, the album is practically done, right?

Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

I keep all of these papers in a sturdy plastic holder. This is where I keep the pens for the journal writing. I do keep a little notebook tucked inside to jot down anything I may forget – which is practically everything – so I write it down in a notebook for later.

Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

So, those are my tricks.

What are yours? How do you remember a trip? Do you read, write and draw?

Go Gingham related links:

Our first home exchange is here
When traveling, I love to home exchange because it’s frugal and fun
Travel tips for a trip or stay-cation around the Northwest
Travel packing in a little suitcase and a chart
Getting ready for a home exchange tips and house-warming gift ideas
Meal planning while on vacation and meal planning while camping
Why I love to home swap – it’s free!
Our San Francisco home exchange –Part I, Part II and Part III
Save money on your before and during your next trip

Go Gingham Affiliate link

8 thoughts on “Helping Kids Remember a Vacation

  1. I wish I would have done this as a child. We spent all our summers travelling in Europe and all of our trips before the age of 10 are a really distant memory, if a memory at all. I currently remind my kids of trips we took when they were 5, 6 etc so they do not forget…it’s tough!


    1. Cathy, you’re right! It’s best to remind young kids about their travels. I know my daughter doesn’t really remember this trip to Paris when she was 5 but that just means we’ll have to go again 😉


  2. Love these tips my friend!! What great memories you are capturing for all of you. Glad you are home safely. Can’t wait to hook up and hear all about your trip!


  3. Great ideas, as usual, Sara! There’s an excellent Nat’l Geographic novel series called Mysteries in the National Parks by Gloria Skurzynski and her daughter. They’re great read alouds for the whole family. Very suspenseful. If you’re traveling to a national park that has one of these novels as its focus (I think there are about ten), I’d highly recommend taking one along. Reading it in the park adds to the experience. Can’t take a vacation to a national park this year? Well, at least you can experience one virtually by reading about it.

    We also have taken to journaling on the backs of postcards each day – not as creative as your daily drawings, but easier for the lazier among us! Helps us remember what we saw and did each day.


    1. Erin, that is a great tip about the National Parks! Thank you. I hadn’t heard about that. And, we didn’t draw each day – no one felt like sketching at the beach and we were there a lot this trip!! I did jot down where we went each day so I could remember for our scrapbook.


  4. I love scrapbooks, and I adore your idea of doing the journal boxes as you go. I take a heavy envelope and stuff all our ticket stubs, receipts, favorite cookie labels, etc. in it as we go, for later use.

    I’m not big on buying souvenirs, but I do like to get something small that make me think of the trip when I use it. This trip a bought a unique little serving utensil at a flea market that looks cute once I cleaned off the tarnish. My daughter has a charm bracelet with a charm from most cities we’ve visited – and usually a funny story about how we found the charm.

    One more thing – I like to make foods that we had on our trip once I get home. I just bought some almond flour to make yummy ricciarelli cookies, which we had in Siena.


    1. Michelle, the food idea is excellent. Food is so much of traveling for us and making the dishes (or cookies!) you enjoyed is a great way to relive the trip. I love the charm bracelet idea, too. We don’t buy many souvenirs either but wait until you see what we brought home… 🙂


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