Sanity Saving Road Trip Essentials

Packing and prepping for a summer road trip with kids can be a task that may leave even the most seasoned logisitics officer with weak knees.  Between packing, paying the bills, cleaning the fridge, finding a sitter for the dog, and taking out the trash, you wonder if you’ll ever get on the road.

The USA License Plate Game is a fun way to keep the kids happy on your next road trip.  That usually means that if the kids are happy - mom is happy!

The USA License Plate Game is a fun way to keep the kids happy on your next road trip. That usually means that if the kids are happy – mom is happy!

After a while, your brain turns to mush, you know you’ve forgotten something, and your inner voice keeps chanting “Let’s just get in the car. Let’s just get in the car.”   But before you do, consider the drive itself.  You know that it is only a matter of time before you hear the dreaded, “How long till we get there?”  Take a moment to delay the inevitable by packing a few of our favorite Sanity-Saving Road Trip Essentials.

  • An Interactive Travel Game –  A game that requires the kids to notice and observe the things they are driving by is not only a great way to pass the time in the car, but it forces them to look outside of the window.  One of our favorites is the USA License Plate Game.  The game centers around finding as many state license plates as possible, but the game can be played several ways to challenge everyone from kids to adults.
  • A Travel Trivia Game – Keep the whole vehicle occupied with a trivia style game.   The Trip Talk Travel Game is one of our favorites, and it is perfect for the whole family.
  • An Audio Book for Kids – In our house, audio books rule the road.  Many a happy (and silent) mile have passed by due to a good “listen”.  The Sugar Creek Gang Series is at the top of our list, but there are so many options that your biggest problem may be choosing only one!
  • Reusable Sticker Books and Coloring Books – For the younger kids, a reusable sticker book is a great way to pass the time.  There’s no mess and no fuss, and on a long road trip – that’s a good thing!  The Reusable Vehicle Sticker Pad is one of our favorites.
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“At the Beach” Scavenger Hunt

Are you heading to the beach?  If so, take this printable scavenger hunt for kids with you to make a day at the beach extra fun.

Although a day at the lake or the beach is fun, sometimes kids can get a little restless.  That's when it is time to pull out the scavenger hunt and get them back on track.

Although a day at the lake or the beach is fun, sometimes kids can get a little restless. That’s when it is time to pull out the scavenger hunt and get them back on track.

Download your printable At the Beach Scavenger Hunt by clicking here:

AT THE BEACH SCAVENGER HUNT FOR KIDS

_______ A minnow

_______ Snacks

_______ A snail

_______ A crab

_______ A piece of seaweed or sea grass

_______ A piece of driftwood

_______ A seagull

_______ A towel

_______ Sunscreen

_______ Lip balm

_______ Beach toys

_______  A sandcastle

_______  Animal tracks in the sand

_______  A beachball

_______  A beach umbrella

_______  A water bottle

_______ A seashell

_______ A bird feather

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5 Father’s Day Traditions from Around the World

Father’s Day is coming up soon, and here in the United States we are getting ready to honor Dad.  A typical Father’s day celebration in the United States can include a gift for Dad, a special dinner or dessert, a Father’s Day card, and hopefully a hug or two for dear old Dad.  Have you ever wondered how Father’s day is celebrated in other countries around the world?  Below are some traditions you may find interesting.  Who knows, maybe this Father’s Day, you can incorporate one of these ideas into your Father’s Day celebrations.

Father's Day Traditions vary around the world.

Father’s Day Traditions vary around the world.

Germany: Father’s Day in Germany is called Vatertag (Man’s Day). The tradition began in the Middle Ages as a religious procession. In modern days the day begins with a male’s only hike where the men pull wagons filled with regional food and drink.

Japan: In Japan, children give their fathers flowers, handmade beer glasses, origami, special sweets, and gifts. A typical Father’s Day dinner is a special dish made of crab, prawns or other seafood.

Brazil: In Brazil, Father’s Day is celebrated with a huge barbeque. Families get together for an all-you-can-eat feast either at home or at a Brazilian Steakhouse.

Russia: In Russia, Father’s Day is celebrated more as a tribute to all men. It has evolved from a military commemoration and therefore still has a strong military overtone. Defender of the Fatherland Day, as it is known, is commemorated by a parade honoring the Russian Armed Forces. Men typically receive gifts from the women they are close to.

Thailand: In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. On this day the King gives a speech and the Thai people honor their fathers and grandfathers with the Canna flower.

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The Ultimate Summer Fun Checklist

Summer days are here again!  Once the novelty of no-school wears off, don’t let boredom set in.  JM Cremp’s has a Summer Fun Checklist that will keep the kids busy and mom happy.  Best of all, these great ideas are interactive and can be fun for the whole family.

Obstacle Course for Kids -Summer Adventures

A backyard obstacle course is a perfect way to keep your adventurous boys happy!

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Boy’s Lone Salute On the Beaches of Normandy a Lesson for Us All

In June 2014, an 11 year-old boy visited Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. During his visit, he spent four days at the American Cemetery teaching visitors about three paratroopers who were buried there. He did so as part of his own personal project he called “Project Vigil”.

When it came time for the official D-Day celebration, the local authorities did not allow the boy to enter the cemetery in his WWII replica uniform. Instead of being discouraged, he took his American flag to Omaha Beach. There he planted it in the sand.

As he reflected on the events of that day and the brave soldiers who met their fate that day, he was so moved that he raised his hand in salute. Although he struggled to hold the flag steady in the whipping wind, his gaze and salute never wavered.

For over an hour he stood fast in tribute. After a time, he began to draw a crowd. The crowd grew and people began to take pictures with the saluting boy and his American flag. Before long a veteran came and firmly returned the boy’s salute. After a time, a trumpeter from the D-Day 70 Memorial Wind Band joined him on the beach and played a moving rendition of taps.

This patriotic boy did a wonderful thing, and his moving and heartfelt act is an inspiring lesson for other children. His parents or whoever is responsible for teaching him both respect and honor have also done a wonderful thing. As a parent myself, I am humbled by what they have done. Going forward, I will use this as a lesson to teach my children how respect, honor, and history go hand in hand.

You can watch this moving and heartfelt video here:

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Remember Those Who Served

Memorial Day weekend is viewed by many as the start of the summer holiday, but it’s about more than just bar-b-ques, potato salad, and marshmallows by the fire. There is a serious and sober meaning behind the holiday, and it is important that we teach it to our children.

Memorial Day was originally started on May 30th, 1868, by Union General John A. Logan. He declared that day as a day to decorate and remember the graves of Civil War soldiers. In 1950, the President issued a proclamation calling on Americans to observe Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace. In 1971, President Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday, and it is known as an occasion to honor the men and women who died in all wars. In other words, it is a day to “Remember Those Who Served”.

"Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day" by Remember - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day.JPG#/media/File:Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day.JPG

“Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day” by Remember – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day.JPG#/media/File:Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day.JPG

You may or may not know a veteran yourself, but there are ways that your family can honor the men and women who served in your community:

  • Thank a veteran
  • Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.
  • Visit a monument dedicated soldiers, sailors or marines.
  • Join a parade
  • Put flowers or flags on the graves of men and women who served in the military.
  • At 3 pm, participate in the National Moment of Remembrance
  • Teach others about the true meaning of memorial day
  • Visit a veterans facility and just take a moment to visit and thank the people you see there.

There are many ways that you can honor veterans and celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day.

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Seven Priorities For Wilderness Survival Every Adventurous Kid Should Know

Teach your children the seven priorities of survival.

Teach your children the seven priorities of survival.

If you are the parent of a boy scout, you are probably familiar with the seven priorities for wilderness survival.  The Boys Scouts of America requires that scouts attempting to earn their Wilderness Survival Merit Badge know and understand these priorities.  The priorities are easy to understand, are built on common sense, and can easily be taught to young people whether they are boy scouts or not.  Listed in order of importance, these priorities are:  keep a positive mental attitude, first aid, shelter, fire, signaling, water & food.

Keep a Positive Mental Attitude:  If they panic and lose control, they are likely to make the situation worse.  The best thing to do is to adopt the S.T.O.P. rule.  Stop, think, observe, plan.  Explain this concept to your children as it is a good one and can be used during any crisis situation.

First aid:  If anyone in the group is critically injured, first aid becomes the next priority.  Teaching children basic first aid is a crucial wilderness survival skill.  Topics to cover would be minor health issues including insect bites, blisters, dehydration, hypothermia, cuts, scrapes, and bruises.  You can also cover larger health problems such as broken bones and snake bites.  The Red Cross is an excellent resource for first aid training.  JM Cremp’s also sells a waterproof Pocket Guide to First Aid that is an excellent addition to any backpack.

Shelter:  The third priority is to find or create shelter.  The ability to protect yourself from the elements is crucial in any survival situation regardless of the weather.  The next time you are out with your children, ask them how they would find or build shelter.  What materials would they use?  How would they build it?  You can learn more about finding shelter in the book Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters.

Fire:  The ability to build a fire in a survival situation is critical.  Fire provides warmth, can cook food, purify water, can be used as a signal device, and will most definitely boost morale.   Show your kids how to build a proper fire in the woods and you will teach them a skill that will last a lifetime.

Signaling:  The most effective tools for signaling are a signal whistle and a small mirror.  Teach them that three blows on the whistle means “help”.  The mirror can be used to signal aircraft, helicopters, or people far away.

Water:  A human being can survive approximately three days without water. Teach your children how to find a clean water source, how to purify water, and how to draw moisture from the ground.  The book, Essential Survival Skills, is an excellent resource for all of the topics discussed here including how to procure safe drinking water.

Food:  People can go several weeks without food in survival conditions.  Knowing what plants to eat in the wilderness requires some more extensive training.  The book, The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants is an excellent learning resource.  Also, if you are a family that hunts and fishes, use that hunting and fishing time to discuss procuring food in a survival situation.

As always, JM Cremp’s is an excellent resource for survival gear for kids and adults of all ages.

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