5 Cool Things Your Kids Will Learn on a River Trip

Apr 9, 2014

Summer School Your Kids Will Love

So, your kids gets out of school in a few months (scary) and you don’t want them to be on their computers, iPads, and phones all summer (even scarier). Consider a different kind of summer school—on a river trip—to keep their brains firing outside of the classroom. Just don’t tell them about all the cool stuff they’ll be learning on the river.

Summer School Your Kids Will Love

#1 Reading – Guides love talking rivers and the nuance of reading the laterals, holes, and currents in a rapid. Your kids will probably already have a hefty summer reading list but your guides would love to teach them whitewater literacy. They might even hand over the oars for a bit. Just ask.

Starry night on the Yampa River

#2 Astronomy – Astronomy is more than connecting the dots in the sky. On the river, where the view of the Milky Way couldn’t be any clearer, many guides like to share Greek, Roman, and Native American mythologies, adding cultural relevancy and history to constellations like Cygnus the Swan.  After a river trip, your kids won’t look at stars the same way.

5 Cool Things Your Kids Will Learn on a River Trip

#3 Geology – Science class gets taken to a new level when you’re surrounded by all that rock.  In river corridors throughout the West, rock formations tell the story of Earth’s history and are deposited in a remarkably readable way. As your family descends down river, you’ll also be traveling through time. Periods and epochs peel back from the river’s surface, and with a little guidance, anyone can learn to read the rocks like books.

Summer School Your Kids Will Love

#4 Vocabulary – Guides use tons of special words to communicate with each other on a river trip.  Some new vocabulary your kids might learn include “Chickie Pail,” which is a metal bucket guides use to gather water and wash dishes.  “PFDs” are personal flotation devices, or life jackets. A “duckie” is an affectionate nickname for an inflatable kayak. “Sand stake” is a metal post used to secure the rafts and dories to the sandy shores. Oh, and we couldn’t leave out “groover.”  That’s likely the first one your kids will pick up on…it’s the bathroom.

Glow in the dark bocce on an O.A.R.S. rafting trip

#5 Physical Education – Yes, it’s vacation, but being on a river trip for a week definitely works the body out on many levels. By carrying gear bags, hiking up lupine-covered hills, paddling class III whitewater, and lifting huge forkfuls of Dutch oven lasagna to their mouths, everyone will get a work out. To step it up a notch, have your kids engage in some all-terrain glow in the dark bocce ball.  It’s a great way to work off those gooey homemade brownies they had for dessert.

Your kids won’t get a grade, or extra credit on the river. They will, though, remember where they learned what a “duckie” is, how to win at wild-lands bocce, and what layer lies under the Kaibab. That’s some class.

 

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Codye Reynolds
Codye is a river guide of 13 years and freelance writer. She revels in starry skies, wild rivers, water ouzel watching, and working in canyon country. She hails from Durango, Colorado, rows Idaho rivers in the summer, and spends the winter months in Madison, Wisconsin. Yes, her old car has a lot of miles on its speedometer.
  • otey

    fun words…all so true! thanks codye