July 5, 2018
We’re just driving home from a week of camping in northwest Minnesota. For those of us who don’t like cross-country skiing or riding snow mobiles, summer is the best time for exploring northern Minnesota. But what amazed me is that so many communities—even a couple with fewer than 200 people—have city campgrounds. For the price of one night in a nice hotel, a family can stay for about a week in a city campground. Remember how the book (Getting to Know Your Child’s Brain) talks about providing stimulation for brain development? There’s plenty of it in small towns.
We stayed in Thief River Falls, but took time to also visit Warroad, Roseau, Baudette, Crookston, Red Lake Falls, and Grand Forks. I read two books and did several crossword puzzles. We stopped for a walk near the lake at Bemidji on the way home. We put our canoe on Lake of the Woods, but it was a really windy day, so we didn’t go too far. In Baudette, we fished in the Rainy River. It was really cool to know that the other side of the river was Canada. My husband caught many fish on the trip, but only when I wasn’t with him. Apparently, I’m bad luck, but he lets me go with him when I want to anyway.
The rivers provide opportunities to swim, fish, kayak, or canoe. There were families from the towns themselves who had brought kids to the parks for all of those activities. The kids were having a blast and there were no computers in sight. I am not saying that video games are horrible. But when children can use their imaginations and get exercise at the same time, that’s a really great thing! Both of those things stimulate brain growth, so together, they’re a double plus.
The Pioneer Village at Thief River Falls was interesting, but one thing that struck me was that it was started in 1938! Before World War II, before computers or cell phones, the community was interested in preserving the heritage of the area. It made me think that in less than 100 years, we will be the “old pioneer days” to future generations.
There are statues and historical markers that explain small bits of Native American history. What we white immigrants did to Native Americans was not pretty, but it’s important for our children to know what happened.
Many of the towns also had bike trails or walking trails. The ones in East Grand Forks and Grand Forks were truly lovely, and the two towns put on a big celebration for the fourth of July.
If you don’t want to pay for a hotel, try camping. If you don’t want to camp, try to get out for the day at least. There’s a lot out there, and your children will be richer for it.
Tressa Reisetter has a new book out for parents:
Getting to Know Your Child’s Brain.
Here’s the link: