This past weekend I spent my time...
...with this fabulous bunch of 4th and 5th graders
at a preteen event called
It was a GREAT trip,
and I saw God moving in those guys and gals
I have attended this event five times now
and I have learned a lot about what it takes
to make a trip successful for
the tween age group.
I thought I would pass along
my helpful hints,
and would LOVE to hear YOUR ideas
for trips like these in the comments section-
I am always looking for ways to improve the fun!
Tween Travel Tip #1:
Let them use technology for entertainment
on the long ride up.
you heard me correctly.
This generation of kiddos is growing up in a time
where they can't remember life without
some type of handheld electronic device.
And when you have a 4+ hour drive
in front of you,
items like iPods and Dsi's are handy.
look at the FUN we had playing around with the
They took pics of several people on the bus
and we got to see ourselves at age 60+-
aren't we LOVELY?
Here are my "rules" when it comes to technology, however:
1. Age appropriate games/music/etc. only
2. NO devices are to be used during SuperStart sessions,
unless you are taking pictures or videos
3. As adults, we need to check in on what the kiddos
are doing with the electronics periodically-
even play WITH them!
4. The kiddos are to be responsible for their devices,
keeping up with them at all times.
They can be a great bonding experience
for us and the kiddos...
Tween Travel Tip #2:
Keep the kiddos BUSY!
There is nothing worse than a bored tween!
In my opinion,
kiddos at this age should not have
a ton of "free time"-
time with no purpose only leads to opportunities
for mischief or bad attitudes.
Besides our actual time at SuperStart,
we were either traveling, eating,
We spent our 2 hour lunch break on Saturday
at a gymnasium with inflatables
Saturday evening exploring our villa,
and all day Sunday at
When I co-deaned 4th-6th grade
Summer church camp.
the schedule we made for those kiddo
kept them hopping from sun up sun down.
The only free time they had was in the afternoon
to swim or hang out in the dorm rooms,
which was for about one and a half hours.
may wear us adults out,
but it wears the kiddos out too!
Tween Travel Tip #3
Establish the "Buddy System."
Since this trip involved a lot of
traveling from place to place,
and being in venues with LOTS of other people,
it was important that the kiddos stick with
a buddy where ever they went.
Not only does this ensure safety...
...but it allows the kiddos
to bond with each other and deepen their friendships.
And friends are VITAL for this age group!
if a situation ever arose in which
the buddies needed to switch partners,
that was OK-
just as long as they stuck with someone.
Also, the buddies needed to check in with the
adults every once in awhile,
or we would check in on them,
just to make certain everybody was safe
and having a good time.
Tween Travel Tip #4
Give the kiddos responsibilities.
4th and 5th graders are not babies-
and should not be treated as such!
Our kiddos are responsible for their behavior,
They are also GREAT helpers at this age!
Here is Baby Girl helping with one of a fellow
Children's Minister's kiddos.
Our kiddos all had to help
clean up the areas we stayed or played at,
were expected to use manners,
and check for their belongings
when we packed up at the hotel.
we reminded them.
we also helped.
But we, the adults,
did NOT do all the work.
These kiddos are perfectly capable
of being helpers-
and are honestly GOOD at helping too!
Tween Travel Tip #5
this seems like a no brainer,
but you gotta make certain to have
regularly scheduled meals
and snacks available
for these ever-growing age group.
Here are a couple of our kiddos,
"enjoying" some gum during a self-chosen snack time.
Before the trip,
I sat down and figured out how much money
I would need to spend for meals and snacks
and then I divided that cost into the price of the trip.
The ONLY money our kiddos bring with them
on the trip is for souvenirs or sodas.
I order all the meals in advance,
bring food with us,
or use Visa gift cards
to buy meals on the road.
The kiddos each also receive their own
It is a gallon sized baggie I fill with
non-perishable, easy snacks for the entire trip.
They can choose when (and how much) to eat them.
This year's Snack Bags consisted of the following:
2 Rice Krispie Treats
4 Bags of fruit snacks
1 pack of peanut butter crackers
1 Nature Valley Sweet 'n Salty Granola bar
1 snack sized bag of Cheez-Its
1 Tootsie Pop
PLENTY of snacks that were low mess
and kept their bellies full!
Tween Travel Tip #6
Bring adult sponsors who will
love on the kiddos!
I was VERY blessed to have some
pretty cool adults helping lead and care for
the kiddos on this trip!
See the man in the gray jacket
He is Mr. Jonathan-
father to one of the boys on the trip,
and an expert on the dance moves of...
...The Peanut Butter Shake.
That pretty little lady on the left
is Miss Angela,
the 4th grade Sunday School teacher
who is also...
...an excellent belly board surfer.
The lonely man in that sea of kiddos
is Mr. Jerry,
our 5th grade Sunday School teacher.
He is a SuperStart veteran...
...and an expert in the art of 5th grade boy
This beautiful bombshell is Miss Carol,
the mother to one of our 4th grade girls...
...and the Queen of photo bombing.
(Also not pictured is Mr. Paul-
the father of one of our 5th grade girls
and an expert at the art of driving
a 13 passenger van full of silly kiddos.)
I could NOT have had a successful trip
WITHOUT these wonderful people!
They sacrificed their time
to come and hang out with the kiddos.
They all got into the SuperStart worship
kept the kiddos safe,
and just plain old loved on them!
I ADORE these people!!!
Tween Travel Tip #7
Plan on an easy day after the trip!
This is a collage of a conversation
two of my children's minister friends
and I had the morning after our trips.
We were all tired,
but we all had a good trip
with our kiddos!
I am thankful for women like this in my life-
for opportunities like SuperStart-
they all strengthen my faith
and encourage my spirit.
And leave me physically exhausted!
Which is why it is important to not expect
a lot out of yourself
for a couple of days
after a trip like this one.
Hope these tips help some of you out there!
And- again- I would LOVE to hear any tips
you have for making a tween trip
Please comment below if you have any ideas!