Family Fun for Free with a Staycation
Summer is finally around the corner, and the annual summer vacation is a treasured family tradition that ensures family fun and relaxation. These days, the cost of a family get-away can seem astronomical due to the expense of vacation entertainment and accommodations.
However, you can avoid the cost and fuss of travel and lodging by making the most of the home you have created for your family. By prepping your home, you can create a fun, vacation-like atmosphere that’s relaxing for you and your family.
Staycations also allow you to vacation with your pets in a place that’s familiar and comforting for them, reducing stress on your furry friends and the entire family.
Clean and organize your living space before your staycation. A great deal of the enjoyment from staying in a hotel or resort is the clean, comfortable atmosphere surrounding you, without doing the work yourself.
- Clean your house for tidiness and sanitation. Knowing you’re in an extremely clean environment will free your mind of worries that plague you during normal days at home.
- Completely catch up on your laundry. After all, even on a vacation outside of your home, you would need clean laundry for the week. The goal of having clean laundry is to match the atmosphere and comfort level that you would experience at a place away from home.
Try these steps when planning for your next staycation:
Plan activities to do in your home or surrounding area. A staycation should still be active. Staying at home the entire week of vacation is impractical and can cause friction after a few days. Survey and utilize your surroundings to plan fun activities for the entire family.
- Do some research in the weeks beforehand and have a game plan in place.
- Look into low-cost or free local attractions to visit during the day. Depending on the interests of your family, these may include a museum, butterfly garden, aquarium, or a picnic at the local park. Many local education-related venues allow kids in for free.
Not every activity has to be outside of the home. Plan activities that your children enjoy doing, such as arts and crafts. If your children are older, play sports or set up a slip and slide in the backyard.
- Turn off the electronics. In order to create a relaxing atmosphere, it’s important to disconnect from everyday life.
- Turn off your cell phone and shut down your computer. Make arrangements with work beforehand and communicate that you’ll be out of touch for the entire duration of your vacation.
- On your work email account, you can set an automatic response that will reply to senders to let them know that you’re out of the office. This way, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that your responsibilities at work will be handled.
Having a staycation is a positive, cost-effective way to take a break from your everyday life. Taking a short break from life’s responsibilities will allow you to become inspired to do better in other aspects of your everyday life.
Your mind, body, and soul deserve a break, even if an extravagant vacation is not financially viable at the moment. With a little creativity and some extra effort in planning, you and your family can experience a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation – right in your own home.
Great Activities to Enjoy with Your Children on a Staycation
Each season of the year brings new opportunities to do fun things with your children. During the summertime, remember that there’s more to do than simply playing outside or going to the pool. With some creative thinking, you can make memories with your children that will last a lifetime.
Here are some great summer activities to do with your kids:
Have fun with water. If you have small children, consider getting a water table. These tables provide toddlers with opportunities to play with water and toys outside of the tub. Older children may enjoy a run through a sprinkler system to cool off. Mine loved their slip and slide.
Backyard Camping. Pull out the sleeping bags and pitch a tent in your own backyard. Cook dinner on the grill or over an open fire, share stories and sing a few campfire songs. Please don’t forget the s’mores, it is the best part after all.
Volunteer your time. Volunteering is an excellent way to provide for your children a true learning experience while having fun over the summer. Research different programs that allow children to help out in the community. This could set the stage for regular volunteer work in the future.
Fly kites. Buy a kite at a local store, or make your own if you have the time. Find a safe area to fly kites and teach your children how to get their kites up into the air. Once children learn how to fly kites themselves, it may become one of their favorite summertime activities.
Make summer themed arts and crafts. Arts and crafts can bring enjoyment to your kids year-round, but you can enjoy the summer season by doing crafts that are centered on the theme of summer. Make decorations or design your own t-shirts. Allow your kids to think creatively by coming up with their own ideas.
Go for a bike ride. If everyone has their own bikes, you can go out for a ride as a family. It’s a great way to bond and enjoy the sunshine. If your children are too young, you can take them for a wagon ride.
Play backyard games. Head out to the backyard or a local park to play games. You can play traditional sports or make up your own games to play. Take advantage of the season’s warm weather, enjoy each other, and get some exercise at the same time.
Go to the beach. Declare today a beach day! Grab your beach toys and bathing suits and have a good time in the sun. If you don’t live by the beach, you can create your own beach day anyway. Spread towels on the ground and enjoy the sun or head to a nearby river or lake.
My family and I aren’t much for sunbathing, so we would go to the beach around 4 in the afternoon and have a dinner picnic. All it takes are a few subs, chips, watermelon, lemonade and a good wiffle ball set. As an extra bonus, stay and watch the sunset.
Go on a nature hike. Whether you’re walking through your neighborhood or a local beach, a nature hike can make you more aware of the beauty of your surroundings. Your children might enjoy creating a collection of things they find in nature, such as rocks and shells.
Go out on a canoe. Is there a local lake or river nearby? Rent a kayak or canoe and spend your day floating down the river. It’s a super fun way to spend time outdoors and relax.
Go to the Theatre. If you’re staying home, let the kids dress up, put on a play, sign autographs and take movie star photos! Venturing out on the town? Scope out discount websites like Groupon for deals on theatre tickets or local performances that your kids will get a kick out of!
Luau Party. Nothing says vacation like a grass skirt, a lei around your neck and one of these easy mocktail recipes. Take it one step further by inviting the kids to try hula dancing and lighting up your backyard with tiki torches!
Festivals and Fairs. During the summer, it’s likely your town or county will host a festival or fair (or several). Check the flyers at your local library or ask around. You probably won’t even have to look that hard. Make going to the fest an event. Talk to your kids about it beforehand to drum up excitement. Pack snacks and possibly even a picnic lunch. The food at these events can get pricey.
Outdoor Movies and Concerts. Many communities have places that host outdoor movies and concerts throughout the summer. Just check your local chamber of commerce for a schedule or ask around.
Reunion. Summer’s the perfect time to host a reunion. Have a family reunion or a reunion of friends you haven’t seen in a while. How about a reunion of your kids’ first friends (and your own new-parent friends) from a playgroup or daycare? You can even have a party with some of your kids’ friends from school. For kids, summer feels like it takes forever. So why not host a reunion in the middle of it!
Keep your kids from getting bored this summer with one or more of these activities. Instead of staying stuck in the house watching TV or playing video games, I challenge you to bond as a family and create lasting memories together! It All Starts with You!
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