Vacations Instead of Toys Can Lead to Advanced Brain Development
Yes, times a million.
Growing up we didn't have a ton of money to go on extravagant vacations but even the quick trips to the lake, day trips to Nashville, and even when sports took us out of town those were considered vacations. I always said, I owe a lot of my independence and who I am as a person to the fact I traveled so much growing up. My sister and I had plenty of toys growing up but I distinctly remember our parents not letting us receive birthday gifts at our parties, it was to be more about spending time with friends and family doing whatever activity was planned. I used to hate it so much, but as an adult, I get it. I can't tell you what I got from a friend on my 9th birthday. What I do remember is who was there, where we were, and the fun of skating at the old Vanderburgh County 4-H Skating Rink (my childhood friends know what I am talking about).
I never thought much about the adventures I went on as a kid other than it was time with family or it was for the competitive cheerleading and gymnastics I was a part of. Once I got to college I felt ready to do more things by myself such as traveling on spring break, going on small trips with friends or just knowing how to travel. I was much more advanced. I quickly realized I owe all of that to traveling/vacationing.
According to child psychotherapist Dr. Margot Sunderland, vacationing is an important investment in child brain development. Sunderland explained, "This is because on a family holiday you are exercising two genetically ingrained systems deep in the brain’s limbic area, which can all too easily be “unexercised” in the home. These are the PLAY system and the SEEKING system." In addition, "a family vacation also contributes to their general happiness and well-being." Basically your kids will be happier and healthier mentally. They are challenged more and will create a bond with you and your kids for years to come.
This doesn't mean you have to spend thousands on vacations every year. There are several places close to Evansville to visit for a night or two! Day trips are a great way to save money as well. With all the aquariums and children's museums within a two hour drive, there is something for every budget. Better yet, here are some road trip ideas to help with the commute!