As a mom, when I talk about planning a trip – I’m usually referring to the act of getting the whole family on board. Iceland’s been a dream destination for me for a long time, my husband knew why it would be awesome – but my 6 and 8-year-old? They didn’t quite get the excitement. That’s why I pulled out all stops in planning a trip to Iceland with kids.
Visiting Iceland has been a 20-year dream in the making for me. For my kids? Not so much
Twenty years after my aunt visited me in Germany, with a flight that connected in Reykjavik, and the country first really appeared on my radar – I’m going to Iceland. I’m not sure how I managed to not book flights before now. But, I’m excited to be going and now I need to figure out a way to get the kids excited.
Here are the problems:
- I’m extremely excited and it’s all I want to talk about.
- As popular as Iceland is, my kids just don’t get it.
- We’re only going to be there for five nights.
- It’s an expensive destination and I’m not sure when we’re going back.
- So, I want to go there with kids ready to hit the ground and ready to soak up all that Icelandic energy to have the best time we can on a pretty short trip.
So family preparation it is.
How we’re preparing for our trip to Iceland
Reading kids books about Iceland
This accomplishes two things: They’ll see all of the pretty pictures to get them excited and we’ll see what makes them excited so we can work on an itinerary.
We have guidebooks for adults and books for kids around the house.
I gave my kids some post-it notes and a pen and told them to go through our guidebook and mark things that interest them.
We have about 50 post-it notes with words like “cute” next to the puffins and “awesome” next to the Northern Lights and “wow” next to some geysers.
We went to the library and checked out a book for them. I went with this one by Scholastic. We read a little bit from it every night and the kids are into it. It’s actually shocking to me because I thought they would be bored, but the combination of the post-it note favorites and knowing we’re traveling there and their general interest in non-fiction books and they are INTO IT.
P.S. Thinking of what you can do when you’re there that your kids will enjoy? THIS IS HOW YOU FIGURE IT OUT! Thinking of doing something they might not enjoy, but you want to do it anyway because it’s your trip, too? THIS IS WHERE YOU LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR HOW AWESOME IT WILL BE!
We will be acquiring more books from the library and Amazon as we get closer. I’ll probably get some books about Icelandic Mythology, maybe this one which is available on Kindle Unlimited. But I’m also going to use the things they were interested in from our post-it challenge and the Scholastic book to figure out what to read about next.
There are also some books about Iceland on our Global Bookshelf and more will be added.
Incorporate what we can, when we can
Talk about all things Iceland
Since I know from the post-its that they like puffins, northern lights, and geysers, we talk about them a lot. Puffins are now one of our family’s favorite animals.
Point out Iceland, Northern Lights, anything
They point out
Search for Iceland on any media that has a search button
If you aren’t a screen-free family, take it to the screens. We do searches on YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu to see if there are any Iceland stories. And there are a lot. Our favorite YouTube channel for all things Iceland is Iceland with a View. She gives so many great tips for almost every Iceland question you, or your kids, can think of.
Eat Icelandic food
Skyr, or Icelandic style yogurt, has been available at my local grocery store for years. It’s one of the first foods mentioned in the scholastic book, so it’s also one of the first foods I packed in their lunchbox after booking our flights.
Listen to podcasts about Iceland
We used the time before school to listen to podcasts about Iceland. The kids aren’t always on board with it, to be honest, but they don’t really need to be. I think it’s going to help them overall, I like it, and it’s only 15 minutes of their day anyway. But sometimes they would get in the car and ask, can we listen to Jewells? (By the way, Jewells is the host of the All things Iceland podcast.)
How’s it working so far?
While we do have a lot of notice for this trip to do all the things, it’s not always going to be this way.
However, based on my kid’s enthusiasm, so far I think it’s working. We’re about a week or two into making Iceland the center of our random talks.
My daughter mentioned she wants to go to college in Iceland. She’s six and who even thinks that way at that age? Well, a six-year-old who has been hearing about Iceland nonstop for the past week, that’s who.
So this is where we are now. As we get closer I’ll find more resources. If I figure out anything cool, I’ll share it here. Before we go I’ll prepare some kind of journaling plan. You can read about my past summer’s travel journal plan here. And then when we get back, I’ll figure out how to wrap it all up nicely so it has a better chance of being part of our family’s story instead of something that’s just forgotten because it’s over.
Do you have any amazing Iceland resources you want to share? Let us know in the comments.