Exercise: Getting Kids Ready for Trip
Get the Family Ready for a Vacation with Exercise
Exercise is a great way to get ready for a trip. Traveling can be so beneficial for kids: they learn about cultures, how to be flexible, how to read a map, how to explore the world and spend time bonding with the family. When you exercise beforehand, you are physically ready to go!
Step one: Get moving.
Vacations involve walking…lots and lots of walking.
Just getting to a vacation destination can mean lots of walking in airports and through rental car parking lots, hotel parking lots – usually MUCH more walking than kids are used today. Also, kids have shorter legs and shorter strides which equals more walking than you do to cover the same amount of ground. The last thing you want to hear is whining about tired legs and not being able to see what you came so far to see.
Walking is the very best exercise you can do!
Build stamina by walking frequently. Walk to school. Walk home from school. Walk the dog in the evenings. Walk on the weekends at the mall or around the neighborhood.
Use a pedometer or an app on your phone. Count your steps a few days in a row to see what your average step number is and then add 1000 to it. Step up your goal each week. Shoot for 10,000.
For our upcoming trip to Peru, we are starting with one mile a day. Our goal is to walk 3 miles at a time so that we can manage Machu Picchu!
The physical benefits are so many! You get stronger legs and increased lung capacity. Every bit of exercise adds to your bank of health..keep adding!
There is an educational benefit to walking together. Walking gives you time to talk. Bond with the kids over discussions about school or the cute boy in math or the annoying girl on the bus.
Talk about your trip and tidbits you are learning before you go!
Before our trip to Greece I spent our walks telling stories of Greek mythology. Before Spain, we talked of conquistadors and Picasso! Ask the kids what they want to see on your trip.
Step two: Encourage everyone to keep moving.
You can use all sort of ideas to encourage the kids to exercise.
Before we went to Rome, I use the walking time to tell the kids stories about Roman mythology. Before our trip to Spain, I told them all about ham and Christopher Columbus and Flamenco dancing. Now we are preparing for a trip to Peru. I gave each kid a llama that I found at World Market. We named the llamas – Bob, Emmet, and Sebastian.
The llamas happily come along on all of our walks.
Step three: Motivate to keep everyone moving.
For each mile, we give one (dollar) in the local currency to be used as the kids spending money. For fun, we make a chart to visualize their earnings. You can make your own or download one free here. We especially enjoy ones that have something to do with our upcoming adventure.
For Peru, the ‘stepping stones’ between the llama at the beginning…
and Machu Picchu at the end…
are llamas. Why llamas? Because they are crazy fun!
As the kids walk a mile, they glue on pictures of the Peruvian Sol on each llama.
The most valuable physical benefit is fitness. Kids in the US are sadly unfit.
Make your heart healthy! Make those legs strong enough to walk and explore!
There are so many educational benefits! Explore the differences between US money and the money for your destination. Count it.
When the kids spend money during their vacation they use other wonderful skills by interacting with clerks and vendors. They learn to talk to adults. Wait for change. Count their money. Look at the clerk and talk to them. Read more about money life skills.
Step Four: Reward for exercise!
Go to the bank and request ‘small’ currency category from the country of your destination.
Otherwise, you’ll get one $100 bill and will be unable to divvy that up between the kids. The smaller the currency the better (banks cannot get coins). When I ordered the ‘small’ bill collection of Peruvian Sol from the bank I received 10s and 20s.
As the kids exercise by walking and earn their spending money in the local currency, give it to them. Let them study it, enjoy it, and feel proud about it!
Teach kids about the exchange rate between US money and the money from your destination. There is no easier way to illustrate a ‘strong dollar’ than to understand $1 = 3.44 Peruvian Sol.
Step Five: Use the money.
At the destination, let kids interact with the locals to spend their money. They can read the tags or ask for a price. They can figure out if they have enough money and if their hard earned money is going to be well spent on that item.
Let the kids interact with the clerk…ask to purchase, wait to be told how much money they need to pay, wait for change. Have them count their money to make sure the change is correct.
Enjoy the journey knowing you are raising global citizens and feel good about strengthening their life skills regarding money!
Happy Fit Travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist