The summer months are a great time to get out and do some hiking. My kids love to hike! However, they think they like history significantly less. So, I have developed a great way to get them on board with my travel and cultural scheming: “city hiking” is what I call it. Essentially, we have dubbed the historical tours we go on in some of the coolest cities around “hiking”, only it is through the streets with stops and stories along the way. The kids were on to me after our first trek out in New Orleans last April, but we have made it fun by telling them they can earn a souvenir from the city we are visiting by remembering some trivia or historical fact and sharing it with us after the tour. They love it! Each kid tries to one up the other by adding some little-known fact, and the souvenir is a great treat not only for their participation in our “hiking”, but for adding to a collection of tales and travels as they grow up. Our 5 year old’s trivia for our last city hiking was priceless: “We stopped by The White House where President Obama lives.” While very factual, the older kids thought that one was a little too easy. But I ask you this: how many 5 year olds know this same fact? He was rewarded with a souvenir for remembering – a bag full of stones from the Smithsonian mineral shop! Another great tip: let the kids go wild taking their own pictures with cheapie disposable cameras or an inexpensive digital one. It is amazing to see things from their point of view, literally.
Check out these cool “free” tours on NYC, Philly or DC: http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/
This is the very kid-friendly tour we took in NOLA: http://www.tourneworleans.com/