Traveling with kids takes any adventure to a whole new level…which can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Nothing beats watching your kids’ eyes light up at the sight of a moose, muskox or monumental mountain (alliteration intended). You’re witnessing a love for outdoor adventures ignite, their imaginations swell and their curiosity burst all at the same time. During your Alaska family adventure, here are some ideas to help foster their outdoor and educational passions!
- Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Alaska certainly makes for a great scavenger hunt adventure…make up your own specific to your itinerary, or try our Alaska trademarks edition. For teens, take it up a notch and play the scavenger hunt on Instagram…a post including a short description and complimentary hashtags are a great way to encourage creativity and engagement in your family adventure. For younger ones, help them make some notes about what they saw and why it was memorable. Use the scavenger hunt “finds” to inspire journal writing or developing a short story!
- Create an Alaska adventure journal
All the great explorers were also great story-tellers and journal writers…how else would we know about their amazing explorations! Provide your young explorers with some journals to tell the story of their adventure. If they can’t read and write yet, find a journal without lined pages so they can draw pictures and dictate a simple story for you to write below each artistic masterpiece!
- I Spy
This classic boredom buster is a classic and works every time for any age…especially when the scenery is as lush and eventful as the landscape in Alaska! This is a great game for a long train ride. For older kids, brush up on your Alaska wildlife and foliage to see if you can stump them with your knowledge. Or, have some references handy (books or Wikipedia printouts) of the Alaska landscape to help guide the I Spy game. For little ones, a simpler version can still be very educational when you play I Spy with sounds. I.e. “I spy with my little eye something that has a green top and starts with the sound T.”
- Make a music video
A little bit of silliness always makes a family adventure more memorable. Find a song that everyone in the family knows (or at least can get their jam on to) and video a family dance & lip sync party at all the major stops on your itinerary. Splice it together when you get home (this can be a great project for teens) for an awesome video keepsake of your family adventure.
- Let the kids plan a day of adventures
A great way to gain engagement is to let your kids join in on the planning. Find your free days and show them the activities available. Let them select the adventure. On that vacation day, remind them that they are the planner — for older children, allow them some additional responsibilities (perhaps they become the co-pilot in charge of navigation for your self-drive adventure that day).
- Create a Snapchat geofilter
You may not quite understand Snapchat, but your teen does…and actually, it has some pretty cool features that encourages community, place and being in the moment. Pick the coolest Alaska destinations that you visit and suggest your teen put their creativity to good use by building a geofilter in snapchat so other visitors might enjoy snapping with it!
- Find the local kids activities
If you’re traveling with little tykes, all the hikes, museums, sight-seeing can get to be a bit much. Playing with other kids can often take the crank out of an over-adventured toddler. Find a local park or story time hour. You can find story-time at local libraries and bookstores, the Alaska Zoo and Botanical Gardens also offer some neat Alaska themed story hours.
- Visit during a festival
Alaska can be extra special for the family when you join in on a community festival. Summer is absolutely a busy festival season in Alaska, but there are lots of fun community events and festivals throughout the year and throughout the state! When making your plans, ask us about local events as part of your itinerary. Just a few examples:
- Forest Fair, Girdwood (July)
- Midnight Sun Festival, Fairbanks (June)
- Salmon Fest, Ninilchik (August)
- Blueberry Festival, Girdwood (August)
- Mount Marathon, Seward (July)
- Alaska State Fair, Palmer (August/September)
- Track activities on maps
In today’s GPS world, sometimes we forget how cool the visual effect of seeing your activities on a map is. This is particularly true in Alaska where the space is so vast! Print out some maps of your destinations or buy a large foldout Alaska map and let your kids follow the roads, see the nearby mountains and rivers, and mark the places they’ve adventured!