Family vacations provide precious, uninterrupted time together and memories that last a lifetime. Yet they always seem to end a bit too soon. One way to extend the joy of a family vacation is to actively look forward to it, together, with a countdown.
Here are five creative ways to count down to your family’s next getaway.
The Classic Paper Chain
You know the one—strips of construction paper stapled and linked together to form a chain. Each day have your children remove another link. As the chain gets smaller and smaller, you’ll feel excited with the idea your vacation is getting closer and closer.
Heading to a Walt Disney resort? Check out the adorable Disney countdown chain from the blog Or So She Says.
Vacation Savings Jar
Each day, put the dollar amount equal to the number of days before your vacation into a jar. Watch the money pile up as you celebrate the number of days left going down. In the end, use what you’ve saved as spending money on your getaway.
Frame a picture of your destination or a relevant graphic that reads,”___Days Until Vacation!” and use a dry-erase marker to change the number each day, counting down to zero.
Create a list of simple, fun things to do each day before your vacation. Make each item relevant to your destination or your plans. For example, if you’re heading to Paris, perhaps you can read a book that is set in Paris one day, watch a documentary about Paris another, eat at a French restaurant another, and so on. Make each day as easy or challenging as you’d like. This project results in even more quality time together before your vacation and adds knowledge of your destination to enrich the experience.
Similar to a traditional Advent calendar, create a calendar of numbered surprises, counting down to the day of your vacation. Allow your children to open a new surprise each day relevant to the trip ahead. Perhaps one day they receive travel toothpaste, on another, a map of the destination, next, a book about the destination, then, a souvenir in advance, and so on.
Check out these adorable little gifts wrapped in maps by the blog Let’s Be Creative Now.
Whether you’ve planned a once-in-a-lifetime family adventure or a weekend retreat somewhere new, extend the benefits of a family vacation by joyfully looking forward to what’s to come. If these ideas feel a bit too crafty, even making a point of crossing off the days on a wall calendar together with the vacation start date boldly circled will enhance this time for your family. Happy travels!