Start your vacation tradition weeks before you hit the road. Children love to explore maps, so buy several state or city maps and let them help plot the route. They'll learn invaluable map-reading skills and be able to ask questions about the area in which they'll soon vacation. By tracing the route, they'll assume a navigator role -- and a sense of empowerment [Travel Sense].
These maps can play double-duty as a souvenir after your trip ends, too. Turn them into colorful backgrounds for scrapbook pages, fold them into envelopes that can hold trip mementos or use them as part of a larger travel collage to illustrate the route your child helped select [source: Martha Stewart].
Repeating the tradition with each annual family vacation is something children are sure to anticipate. Plus, it will keep their minds -- and hands -- busy while you make last-minute travel preparations.