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5 Unexpected Lessons Traveling to South Dakota Will Teach Your Kid

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Last year my daughter and I took a mother-daughter getaway to South Dakota. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but let me tell you, South Dakota is a sight to see. Not only is the beauty of this state endless, but the lifestyle and kindness of the people there is hard to beat. We took full advantage of this experience and learned all about this amazing state, plus a few life lessons along the way:

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1. Appreciate and Take Care of Nature

Much of our day-to-day life can quickly get filled with driving in cars, sitting at desks, and being inside. South Dakota was just what we needed to give us a breath of fresh air. We were completely taken by the beauty of Badlands National Park. This was just the reminder we needed to see the importance in taking time to appreciate nature all around. Consider doing some research on a park before you get there, or reading a few books about it with your kids. This can help them learn more about why we have the national parks and the reasons we should help support them.

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2. Protect the Planet’s Animals

Fun fact about South Dakota — it’s home to the world’s largest reptile zoo in the world at Reptile Gardens.  Take your children there for a day of fun, and learn more than you ever wanted to know about these fascinating creatures. In Texas we have our fair share of reptiles, but getting the chance to be up close and personal to unique species was an eye-opening experience. Use experiences like this to teach kids the importance of doing their part to help take care of the planet and the animals the live here.

3. Work Hard for Your Money

South Dakota has amazing gold mines that date back to the 1890s. Seeing them was one of our favorite parts of the whole trip. We got to spend the day panning for gold and getting a peek into what it must have really been like. Expand on this experience and explain to the kids what it means to work for a pretty penny. Hey, maybe after a few hours, they can make enough to treat you to dinner!

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4. American History Is Interesting

Don’t forget to take your kids to see George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln on Mt. Rushmore. This is a great time to talk to them about how each president influenced America as we know it today. Bring a warm jacket and stay for the Evening Lighting Ceremony. When we got home after seeing Mt. Rushmore, Clare had a ton of questions about the monument. I really enjoyed turning this into an education lesson that we both could learn from.

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5. It’s Important to Slow Down and Appreciate Family

This trip was one of our most memorable mother-daughter trips we will surely never forget. Spending these few days with my daughter, Clare, has reminded me how important it is to just slow down and appreciate family. I hope that she can look back on this as an adult and also realize it’s important to break out of the routine for some time to just have fun. I think we both learned it’s great to just take a trip with the family, and to enjoy every moment.

Jacinda Boneau is a fabric designer and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.

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