Today is officially “put up the Christmas tree day”, one of the most exciting days of the year for the kiddies.
It’s been weighing on our minds this year about what to get the kids for Christmas. Seeing as we’ll be living in a caravan next year, there’s only a limited amount of “stuff” that can logically fit on our Christmas lists.
We think we have it all figured out though, and today, it was time for the kids to pull out the box of decorations and the tree, and get to work making the house Christmas-y!
It’s strange to think that next year we won’t have a house, or a tree this size, and it’s all a bit of unknown just where we’ll be next year for Christmas. It’s the kind of unknown that’s exciting, but also the kind of unknown that makes me stop and appreciate this special Christmas, this time together before we head off on our big adventure.
So to get you all in the Christmas spirit, here’s the unveiling of the tree 🙂
If you’re heading out on the road for your upcoming family holiday, then keeping the kids happy and occupied in the car is almost certainly going to be at the top of your list.
So, to make your life a little easier, I’ve taken a look around the amazingly inspirational website that is Pinterest, and found some really great tips, tricks and ideas for keeping your children occupied in the car.
A great idea for recycling old DVD cases!
Recycle old mint tins and re-use them as mini magnetic alphabet sets – You can buy printable magnetic sheets from places such as ebay or officeworks
Use a shoe storer as a simple seat organiser that can hold lots of goodies
Marshmallows and toothpicks, fun and yummy
Baking tray, printed activities and magnets, lots of fun!
Playdough in Balloons, fun without the mess in the car!
When you’re planning a family holiday it’s important things go smoothly. The great news is that with the ever growing range of technology available to holiday makers, that simply being armed with an app compatible smart phone means that planning, organisation and information are available on the run. Let’s take a look at a few apps you may not have heard of that will be useful when travelling.
Here’s some useful apps for Family Holidays!
If you haven’t heard of Evernote, then you’ll be glad that you have now! This amazing app is wonderful for organisation, and one thing you need when planning family holidays is organisation! Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders and all of these things can be organised into folders and synced across devices. It’s free for the basic app, or if you need more data allowance you can upgrade to premium.
2. ELDERS WEATHER
This is a super reliable weather app, that takes it’s data from the bureau of meteorology. It allows you to search via town name or postcode and gives you the next 7 days weather forecast including general forecast, expected temperature, rain possibility, wind speed and high/low temps. A great resource when you’re trying to plan a holiday around the weather. It’s Free.
3. WIKI CAMPS AUSTRALIA
$2.99 to buy, this app is full of user generated information on campsites right across Australia. We downloaded this when we were searching for a campsite and didn’t have a book with us to help, and we couldn’t find one using Google Maps either. Users add their own reviews and information on facilities, accessibility etc, so it’s really helpful in understanding what you’ll find before you get there. Definitely one for family’s who love camping in Australia!
4. TRIP ADVISOR
If you’re having a family holiday anywhere in Australia, it helps to know if the places you’re wanting to visit are worth the time or the money. Trip advisor has over 60,000 reviews of places to stay, eat and have fun so that you can make an informed decision about how and where you’ll be spending your holiday. It’s Free.
Ever been frustrated by the limited view point of iphone photos? Well Photosynth removes that frustration by allowing you to take panoramic iphone photos. Definitely lots of fun and highly recommended! It allows you to save and share your creations and capture a real world panoramic view so you don’t forget a thing! It’s Free!
Do you have a favourite app you can recommend for travelling?
Eco Family holidays are growing in popularity, yet it’s easy to turn any family adventure into one that is gentle to the environment. You don’t need to rely on expensive eco resorts to share a green holiday experience with your children. We take a look at how you can turn your next family road trip into one that’s green and environmentally friendly.
1. Reduce Packaging:
One of the most environmentally damaging aspects of a holiday is the trash that quickly adds up when purchasing take away food and drink. A really easy way to reduce your environmental footprint while on holidays is to avoid constantly eating take away foods with excess packaging (some of which is non biodegradable). Constantly purchasing drinks is also expensive and creates a lot of waste plastic bottles. Carry stainless steel refillable water bottles for a much more environmentally and economically sound option.
2. Avoid Food Wastage:
The other consideration when eating out all the time is the fact that children often get excited by the menu options, and then distracted by the fact they are eating out, meaning they can easily over order and then not eat what has been purchased. This not only leads to food wastage, but also becomes an expensive part of your holiday.
3. Drive Greener:
While not everyone can drive around in a low emissions electric car, you can do things to reduce your car’s eco footprint when on holidays. Be sure to have a full service done prior to leaving, this will ensure that your car is running correctly. Check tyre pressure, this simple step can help you lower fuel usage, less fuel used equals less cost to the environment. Drive to the conditions, driving fast and erratically is going to make your car struggle much more, driving at a safe, suitable speed puts less stress on your car, again using less fuel, this is especially true when towing.
4. Minimise Washing:
When on holidays, it’s easy to get caught up with having to throw loads into the washing machine and then straight into the dryer, as time is short. If you’re on a beach holiday or spending a lot of time in the water, be sure that swimmers and towels are hung and dried, this will make them last longer. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather outside, and if camping especially, it’s ok if clothes get a bit dirty and worn a bit longer than they might otherwise be in a home environment.
5. Be Kind to Wildlife:
When travelling within Australia, chances are you’ll come across wildlife in one way or another. It’s important that any families on vacation in Australia understand the considerations that need to be made for co-existing with animals in nature. Consider limiting your driving time to daytime driving where possible. When travelling at dusk or dawn as well as night time, there is a greater chance of hitting and injuring wildlife in your vehicle, as well as doing damage to your vehicle. Another thing to note is that native wildlife should not be fed by visitors. Not only does this encourage them to become accustomed to humans and cause problems for themselves and people, human food can also cause illness and death in some animals.
Most of all, just use common sense. Limit your rubbish output, try to minimise waste, drive safely, be mindful of wildlife, do not pollute or litter, and keep our country looking amazing for all family holiday makers for years to come.
Do you have any eco friendly family holiday hints?
Family road trips are lots of fun, and what makes them even better for parents, is that it’s easy to incorporate an educational perspective into holiday travel, that allows children to learn and experience the world first hand without realising they are learning a thing!
Introducing Education Into Family Road Trips
1. Road Trip Travel Journals
Travel journals offer lots of fun and artistic opportunity for kids, and secretly they offer lots of learning possibilities too! Don’t feel that travel journals are limited to older children, road tripping kids of any age generally love to draw, write or share their own insights into their holiday moments. It’ helps to relieve boredom and allow them to create great holiday memories and express themselves. While there are commercial options available, it’s easy to put together your own travel journal pack. To keep things simple, our tips for creating a travel journal for your kids are:
- Hardcover note books from the newsagency or supermarket work well for DIY Travel Journals. An A5 size is portable and a great size to have in the car.
- Supply stickers or other decorations so that the kids can decorate their journal before leaving home, this will ensure they look forward to using the journal once on holidays.
- Allow creative expression. Encourage certain information to be recorded in the journal but don’t make any rules.
Ideas for travel journal content for your kids:
- Draw pictures of places, buildings, attractions, wildlife, anything they see
- Draw maps of places you visit, places you stay, even your holiday accomodation.
- Leave blank pages when they write about attractions etc so they can glue photos in when they get home.
- Collect travel brochures and glue them in.
- For older kids: Keep a daily journal of what they experience each day
- Track Kilometres travelled each day along with times, fuel costs etc.
- Anything else that may be of interest to your child depending on their age.
- Pack a “journal kit” for the kids to use including scissors, pencils, glue etc
2. Track your travels on a map.
This is a really fun thing to do with children of all ages. Get a suitable map that shows both your home and your road trip destinations. Before you leave home, place a marker on your home town/city then, depending on the age of your children, help them to plot your travels on the map, or allow them to do it. You can either do this as a family, or give the kids a map of their own. You don’t need to buy expensive maps for this, you can simply print a map out from the internet before you leave.
After or during your trip, for older children, this gives them to opportunity to research distances between towns etc. It’s also great for them to plot departure/arrival times, stop times and locations and fuel expenses. By turning this into a fun adventurous exercise this helps your child learn a whole range of life skills and mathematical skills without it being boring and mundane.
3. Give your children a camera or video camera to use.
When children get the chance to capture their own childrens holiday photos, amazing things can happen. Unlike adults, children aren’t always focused on the photos they are supposed to take, and generally, happily snap away to capture the world as they see it. Children see things differently not only because of their height, but also because of their different view on people and the world. Digital photography makes it inexpensive for children to snap photos happily without incurring the expense of photo printing.
To create the best educational opportunity, allow your kids to print their photos and add them to their travel journal. Talk with them about why they took certain photos, what they experienced and their favourite parts of the holiday. This helps with their communication skills.
These ideas are just a few simple ones of how you can create educational, yet fun opportunities on your next Aussie family road trip. Of course researching places, people, animals etc that they have seen is a great way to broaden their knowledge and even if they don’t write it down, talking about it as a family is lots of fun and sometimes we underestimate the power of a simple conversation with our children and what they can learn from it.
Don’t be afraid to try things like journals and modify ideas to suit your family and travel style. Regardless, you’re sure to create a lovely keepsake that will be looked back on in years to come. Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share, please do!
If you take a little peek into our lives, it’s not a hidden fact that we love the bush.
Our home base is in regional Australia, you’ll spot dead giveaways such as Akubra Hats, Bullzye & R M Williams Clothing, RM Williams boots, plenty of Rodeos, with a few paddocks and horse rides thrown into the mix. It’s no secret that we love regional and rural Australia and everything it has to offer.
So it’s with absolute, great pleasure that we get to share with you a wonderful initiative that families across Australia can take part in.
What is Farm Day?
Farm day is simple, it’s a day that brings city families together with farming families to promote fun, friendship and a greater understanding of how important farming is to all Australians. Started in 2006, Farm day is held annually. Each year, city families and farming families register their interest and are then matched together and get to spend a day together to learn, forge friendships and have lots of fun on the way. Definitely a wonderful opportunity to promote the importance of the Australian farming industries, and also to provide a wonderfully educational day for children (and adults too) with lots of fun involved.
Who Can Take Part in Farm Day?
Farm Day was specifically designed for families with school age children. This however is not a strict requirement and other family groups can be accommodated if their is a suitable match available. There are options for farming families who wish to host a city family for a day, and also for city families who would like to experience farm life for a day and learn about rural industries and Australia’s agricultural lifestyle. It’s definitely a great way for children who don’t otherwise have much contact with farms to get hands on and learn about how their food is getting from the paddock to the plate!
How to Sign Up?
Registration needs to be renewed each year to take part in Farm Day. For 2012 the meet ups take place on the 26th & 27th May, there is still some time to register. Registrants are then contacted by the lovely team and hopefully a suitable family match is found. It’s not always possible to find matches for every family, but every effort is made to do so.
Why We are Taking Part?
So you may be wondering why we’re participating in Farm Day? We’ve had a fair bit of insight into farming having lived near, on and around farms in the past, and our children, have raised their own piglet, chickens and veggie patches. Don’t sound like much of a city family do we? I can definitely say that we aren’t, we’re much more country, but we’re not farmers, and while we understand it, we don’t live the extraordinary lifestyle that farmers do.
It’s for this reason when we were approached to participate this year, we jumped on board without hesitation. While we aren’t the typical “city family” the goal for us in participating in Farm Day is so we get to help rally awareness for this wonderful initiative. To share with our readers and visitors just what you can expect by joining up and taking part in this amazing opportunity. We’ll be sharing the details of the process of signing up, right through to the planning, participation and follow up. There will be lots of photos and videos too.
If you’ve found this post in time for the 2012 Farm Day then be sure to register. If not, then stay in touch over at the Farm Day Oz Facebook Page so you don’t miss out on the next opportunity!