Start 2020 with some family New Year’s resolutions. Use your children’s interests and set goals around action, creativity, heritage and wellness. And to help you out, we’ve come up with some resolutions based on our Virginia Kids Trail.
Family New Year’s Resolutions
Exercising more, eating better, and spending quality time with the kids are all great family New Year’s resolutions. But, how do you put them into motion? The key is to tap into your child’s interests. While adults often think resolutions are hard work, these are literally kids play.
What’s the VA Kids Trail?
The Kids Trail runs through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains. Here you’ll experience family-friendly activities while enjoying togetherness and educational playtime. On the Trail, you’ll meet Bucket and his friends Shenny, Ridge, and Fungi. These little buddies help you find activities centered around action, creativity, heritage, and wellness. With this in mind, match your child’s personality to one of our guides and start your family New Year’s resolutions.
Get Ready for Action with Bucket
It’s never too early to instill a love of fitness. And Kids Trail mascot Bucket is here to help. She’s an inquisitive 10-year old whose passion is fitness and outdoor adventure. Getting outside is one of the best ways to be together as a family. Additionally, hiking/walking is healthy as well as something you can do at your own pace. Best of all, it’s pretty darn cheap. Here are some great tips to get your children on the path. With state and national parks, along with the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley are known for hiking. And if your child isn’t quite ready for hiking, take a stroll on the Green Circle Trail in Winchester. Fitness and action adventure are not just on the ground with the Kids Trail. The region also offers water and aerial activities. Harpers Ferry Adventure Center provides family fun with white water rafting and kayaking as well as canoeing. Even younger family members can enjoy flatwater tubing on the easy-going Shenandoah River. Feel like flying? Sign the family up for ziplining. Want to build confidence in your child in fun fitness way? Try HFAC’s aerial rope course. Challenging outdoor experiences will build confidence in all family members. Rock climbing, rappelling and caving can be great – and safe – family experiences with Lester R. Zook of Wild Guyde Adventures. Lester is a Wilderness First Responder, as well as a member of the American Mountain Guides Association and the Professional Climbing Instructors’ Association. He’ll customize your family’s outdoor adventure and beginners are welcome.
Experience Creativity with Shenny
Our creative mascot Shenny says your kid may not be the next Michelangelo, but an appreciation of art, music, and live theater benefits in so many ways. Developing a love of the creative process sets your child up to be a creative thinking adult. And that’s one of the key skills today’s employers look for in the workforce. Creative fun can start at home. You’ll find great craft projects on the VA Kids Trail Facebook page and Instagram. And we just made a new board on our Pinterest page called Winter Family Fun that has loads of ideas. Crafting with your child not only encourages creative play, but it also fosters special time with your kid and helps make lasting memories. After you’ve crafted, take a trip over to Berryville and spend some time at the Barns of Rose Hill. Here you’ll find a multi-purpose community center dedicated to the arts. Take in an exhibit, sign up for an art workshop, and enjoy live music in an informal setting.
More Creativity for Your Family
Musical and theatrical performances can be life-changing events for children. The Blue Ridge is home to the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival. This annual summer event takes place at the base of Great North Mountain. Imagine you and your family enjoying musical entertainment under the stars. While the 2020 lineup hasn’t been posted on SVMF’s website, you can check out the performers from the 2019 season on our blog. When it comes to theater, sometimes children find live performance overwhelming. And that’s why the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre offers “relaxed” performances. What is a relaxed performance? It’s a modified theater experience for small children and those with sensory processing disabilities. Lights are left on at a low level, sound levels are modified, and there are designated seating areas for those who need to move around. Visit SSMT’s website for an expanded list of relaxed performance features. And be sure to get your tickets for Cinderella.
Explore Virginia’s Heritage with Ridge
History in the classroom is boring. We get that. So bring those Virginia history books to life with Kids Trail mascot Ridge. Some of the stops Ridge enjoys include caverns and natural wonders, living history programs, battlefields, and even America’s presidents. After all, Virginia is known as the “Mother of Presidents.” Head way, way, way back in time with your family with a visit to Luray Caverns. Your admission to the caverns also includes three additional family-friendly attractions. Have a “Dino-Kid” in fam? Then (s)he will love Dinosaurland in White Post. Colonial history comes to life at the Frontier Cultural Museum in Staunton. Through interactive and living history programs, your children will learn about the people who migrated to Colonial America and the lives they created here. Even toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy this museum with its special Saturday programs. When it comes to Civil War history, eight Virginia counties make up the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. Make touring those battlefield interesting – and fun – with the Cedar Creek Junior Ranger program. And if your budding history buff has an interest in American Presidents, plan a stop in Winchester. Learn about young George Washington’s time in the Valley and visit his surveyor’s office. You can also learn more about another American leader at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum in Staunton.
Learn about REAL FOOD with Fungi
Healthy eating and meals together are always great family New Year’s resolutions. And if your kid has ever asked where his/her food comes from, then meet Fungi. As the oldest member of the KT gang at 12, he’s drawn to farms and food’s cycle to the plate. And the Shenandoah Valley is Virginia’s “breadbasket.” On the Trail, your children can feed the calves at Mt Crawford Creamery near Harrisonburg and see cows being milked. Be sure to take home some of their delicious milk. Or pick your own produce at Berryville’s Mackintosh Fruit Farm. Take time and visit a local farmers market or community store like West Oaks Farm in Winchester. Grab yourself some locally sourced food and cook as a family. Not only will you enjoy a great meal, but you’ll also have an opportunity to talk about the heritage of family farming and the environment as well. Learn more about locally sourced food at Taste of Blue Ridge. With the Kids Trail, you’ll keep those family New Year’s resolutions. Pick up our handy Kids Trail pocket map at visitors and welcome centers throughout the Valley. And look for our new interactive Kids Trail website coming later this month.