As parents we know that finding the right places to go, disconnect, and explore as a family is important to do. But it’s not always an idea that seems desirable at first thought. After all, between packing the car, traveling to your desired destination, and unloading, it doesn’t take long before our attempt to make the journey can feel like a potential disaster, especially if we find ourselves anxious and forgetting the reason why we even attempted to go in the first place. So what is the answer to turning a family outing into a successful and joyful experience? This is where the idea for MTS GO EXPLORE JAX ADVENTURES comes in. Not only is it a way to create a helpful resource of suggestions for parents, but also a way to ensure that the imagined trip becomes a reality and fun for all the family members.
MONTESSORI TIDES SPRING BREAK “GO” EXPLORE JAX suggestions was designed to remind the explorer in us all, you don’t have to go far or spend a lot for your child to have a good time or make a connection to create lasting memories as a family. We encouraged our readers to use the resources around you and add your own creative family twists with Kathy Graham’s legendary approach, The Three P’s to Traveling with Kids: Planning, Pacing, Parenting.
Planning – Before we attempt to go anywhere with children, the most important thing we can do as adults is bring the child into the planning process, where we begin to create memories. Kathy put it this way, “Because the child gets involved with the family a memory is created. A memory can be an intimate moment, an enlightening thought or like we say in the Montessori classroom an Aha moment”. It doesn’t take much to establish a connection or memory. You can bring the child into this process by first setting the parameters, like “Here are the choices for an outing that will best suit our family.” Let the child help plan what you will need to bring, and map out the day before hand. Also let the child research the area, weather and perhaps make a plan B if the weather forecast doesn’t look promising. Create and discuss the ground rules for planning. Children like to know what the rules are and how to apply the rules in the planning process. Give illustrations and perhaps role-play a few. Allowing this planning time will help things go smoothly the day of the outing.
Pacing – Create empty spaces where you have no real agenda. Follow the pace of the child. Enjoy the quiet moments.
Parenting – Remember this is your outing too! Make time for parents.
These tips are ones you will want to adopt when you travel with children down the street, across town, or out of town.
So Many More Places to GO EXPLORE JAX
After we had a great response to our Spring Break Go Explore Jax suggestions, we asked some of the best explorers we know to submit a place they went over spring break that they would recommend to another family. See our MTS parent collection of Go Adventures on this special feed, which will give you more ideas to plan adventures with your family the next time you decide to Go Explore Jax, or beyond!
Guana State Park
Mac and Aibhilin went to the beach across from Guana River State Park over Spring Break. They had fun looking for shark teeth and found close to 40!
Dutton Island Preserve
Marlee enjoyed tree climbing, hiking and camping at Dutton Island Preserve.
Tranquil lake for kayaking at Kathryn Abbey Hannah State Park.
Enjoy the Timucuan Preserve a 46,000-acre area with individual park sites to visit. Each park site is unique for an aspect of natural or cultural history.
Eat my Yard Jax
Tim Armstrong of Eat Your Yard Jax opens his farm to the public on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The farm is on the Westside, so it’s a bit of a drive from the Beaches, around 45 minutes, but he has aquaponics, vermiculture, mushroom production, chickens and lots of edibles in the garden. Pack a lunch to eat, and you might even get to try some of the great bread made in the wood-fired oven. You also can find Tim on Saturdays at the Beaches Green Market from 2-5 p.m. in Jarboe Park in Neptune Beach. Another great “Go” suggestion.
Big Pine Trail
Big Pine Trail is off Heckscher Drive just pass Little Talbot Island entrance. Go explore miles of biking, hiking, trails with natural life to observe, and driftwood to explore and climb on along the beach.
MTS “Go” Suggestions Outside of Northeast Florida
The Everglades is great trip for just a few days or a whole week. It is only 5 hours away and there is many things to do such as hike, bike, canoe, kayak, and even air boat rides!
Westgate River Ranch
Florida has as long a tradition of cattle ranching as many Westeren States, but visitors and residents alike often do not see past the glitter of theme parks to the Sunshine State’s cowboy history. At Westgate River Ranch, you can immerse yourself in the cowboy mystique, including horseback riding, cookouts and even the longest-running championship rodeo is the United States.
Thank you parents for helping our school community jumpstart our next 24-hour outing, from sandy shores to hitting the open road.
Do you have another “Go”suggestion for families? Comment below or send us a tweet of your favorite place to explore @montessoritides.