Melynda’s hack is perfect for Spring Break prep:
If I want to spend a little more time at a nature center or museum than I think my kids might, I’ll get on the Internet the night before a visit and make a scavenger hunt. By quickly looking through the web site I can make a list of things we will see. For younger kids you could print out pictures, for older kids look for something that isn’t obvious (something they’ll have to search for). Or write the clues in code (find something huge, scaly and from the Jurassic period). Maybe they have to answer a question or write a description. You can also use a scavenger hunt to help them focus on something you really want them to notice.
We’re planning a trip to Zion National Park, and I found that the National Park Service website has tons of info and activities for kids. I also find that this is a great way to prepare kids for a trip. Mine feel more comfortable when they have an idea about where we’re going and what they’ll be seeing. For us, at least, predictability solves many problems before they start.