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Kid's Stuff -1

Do kids look forward to your reunion?
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Zap The Grandma Gap
Studies show that knowledge about family history strengthens and empowers kids by creating self-esteem, resilience and a greater sense of control over their lives. Learning about the family's past also strengthens the relationships between family members by creating a shared experience and core identity that no one else can duplicate. Janet Hovorka's family history activity books provide just that knowledge. Zap The Grandma Gap: Connect To Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History, Zap The Grandma Gap Power Up Workbook, and her new 52-page activity books designed for 6- to 14-year-olds, My British Ancestor, My Civil War Ancestor, My Swedish Ancestor and My German Ancestor, include puzzles, games, recipes, timelines, paper dolls, coloring pages, maps, fairy tales, music, dot to dots and crossword puzzles.

Anyone who has ever been trapped in a hot car with bored kids is well aware that the worldneeds a sure-fire way to ease the resulting tensions. Miles of Smiles: 101 Great Car Games & Activities fills that need. In fact, according to one enthusiastic user it just "may be the ultimate solution for back seat squabbling."

Miles of Smiles is filled with games and activities that have travel-related themes. Ninety-seven require just your minds and mouths to play, and the other four need only simple props:  a penny, a pencil, and some crayons.  A helpful index categorizes each game and activity according to age-appropriateness. Humorous illustrations kids can color add to everyone's enjoyment.  Measuring just 8 1/2" x 5 1/2", the book fits conveniently into your car's glove compartment.

Meyers is a travel writer and author of Weekend Adventures in San Francisco & Northern California, and editor of Dream Sleeps: Castle & Palace Hotels of Europe.

Miles of Smiles is available at, click on subscribe and shop.

“Oh, cool!”  --10-year-old
"Vacation car treks with kids can be heck on wheels, but not when the family-mobile carries Miles of Smiles.  --Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Are we there yet? is the cry of all kids on long car trips. Add to your bag of tricks to keep kids occupied from our Pinterest board of the same hue and cry.

US license plates coloring map
Between movies in the backseat, do kids still "collect" license plates on road trips?
On the way to the reunion, give kids a copy of this map to color on the way to your reunion and on the way home again!


See suggestions for family heirloom projects for kids, click here

Return to the Stone Age

When it comes to art activities, painting on rocks is both exciting and inexpensive. “Rocks aren't intimidating the way more traditional art materials can be,” explains Lin Wellford, known as “the mother of modern rock painting.”  She says, “I've had many people tell me they had no idea they had any artistic talent until they painted their first rock.”

Rock Painting Fun for Everyone! from ArtStone Press is Wellford's eighth book. It contains projects easy enough for anyone to make, even if they've never picked up a paint brush before.

Little voices taking a stand…
Ten-year-old Jenna Gagnon of Waterville, Maine, prepared herself for a very special journey as she packed up to leave school one Monday afternoon. Jenna was headed for the Maine State House to witness Governor John E. Baldacci sign a bill into law that would create a very special new state holiday: Family Reunion Day.

Jenna and her classmates at Albert S. Hall School had learned about how a bill becomes law. After Jenna's father, State Senator Kenneth T. Gagnon, D-Waterville, came to the class to explain lawmaking, she came up with the idea to designate a holiday in August. Her reason for this special day she says, "Some of my family live far away, in Oregon, Florida and Massachusetts. It's a way to get everyone home. And because the time between July 4th and Labor Day seemed much too long to wait for a holiday."

The bill was sponsored by Jenna's father who presented it as "the feel good bill of the season." Maine will now observe Family Reunion Day the Monday after the first weekend each August.

Family reunions have become pretty popular among the younger generations and Jenna and her classmates have proven that. Congrats to Jenna on a job well done!

Reported by Shnee McNeil-Hatcheet, who interned at Reunions magazine while a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Do kids look forward to your reunion? They are, after all, the family members who be responsible for carrying on your reunion tradition so happy kids now will make for happier generations down the road. Listen to ideas that will enhance the reunion joy for kids.


Plan for kids before the reunion
These are some sage ideas for getting kids ready for a reunion.

Sell the reunion and the destination to your kids. Build excitement before the reunion. If your children are old enough, encourage them to help plan. Read about the family and the reunion place. Rent videotapes about the place.

Plan a mix of activities each day. Mix an educational activity with a physical activity or quiet indoor time with a noisy outdoor time. Pick up some toy guns for kids to enjoy the noisy outdoor time. Morning sightseeing followed by afternoon in the pool.

Don't overschedule. Take advantage of child-care programs. A growing number of facilities provide extensive activities for kids. Some time away from the kids is also not a bad idea for adults.

Start early. Arrive at attractions when they open and you'll often have them to yourselves for an hour or so. Eat early and often. Take snacks along, it's cheaper and quicker.

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