Sunday, July 25, 2010

THEMED VACATION ADVENTURES FOR THE KIDS (AND YOURSELF)




When my children were small, they’d cuddle around me in our overstuffed chair on dreary winter afternoons and listen to me read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then after I put them down for a nap, I’d make a cup of coffee and return to the chair and continued to read them.
           
Laura’s books appeal to all ages. Did you know she was 65 when she wrote her first book? She is an inspiration to us all. As my friend Sue Falcon says, “at any age, at any stage!”

I was as big a fan of Mrs. Wilder as my children were. When I learned the house where she wrote the books was only a short distance from Branson— our usual vacation spot—Neal and I gathered up the kids and took them on an “educational” excursion.
           
We had a great time seeing things in the museum that we read about in her stories. Pa’s fiddle holds a place of honor in a glass case. While staring at it, I imagined the family sitting around him clapping their hands to the music. Then we toured her home. It is unique and built especially for Laura’s short stature. That vacation was many years ago. Since then the Wilder Home Association has opened the “Rock House” that Rose Wilder built for her parents with the money she earned as a journalist. I had no idea that Rose had been such a success. You will learn a lot about her at the museum as well.
           
Why not plan a themed vacation for your kids? First, nurture their interest. Read them a little house book, watch a rerun of one of the early television shows, cook a meal like Laura would have eaten. Then take them to one of her home sites or museums.  For a list of locations go to: http://www.lauraingallswilder.com/homesites.asp
           
Other themed ideas could be Helen Keller, Edgar Allen Poe, Herman Melville, Emily Dickenson, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemmingway, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, just to name a few. Themes do not have to be limited to authors. Any famous person or event would work.
           
Times spent together before, during, and after vacation make rich memories that our children will share with their children.
           
More than anything we could buy our kids, great memories are the best gifts we can give.

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