The summertime is always a great time for a family vacation. But with a couple of kids and busy schedules, going out of town can be hard to manage. Taking off work, arranging transportation and pet care, and finding a place to stay can be stressful and expensive.
This summer, try planning a staycation in your backyard! While we all could use a relaxing summer break, that doesn’t necessarily have to include expensive travel or accommodations. With a staycation, you can have all the fun of a family vacation from the (free) comfort of your own home. Here are five creative staycation ideas that you can do at home with your family this summer!
Nothing says summer like a night spent in the great outdoors! No access to national parks or local campsites? No problem! Set up a tent or sleeping bags in your backyard or on your porch or patio. You can create a family campsite without having to worry about rental fees or forgetting items on your packing list. Just pack your backpacks and head outside! You can easily set up a fire pit for campfire tales and roasting marshmallows to make s’mores. Make a night of stargazing. (Many apps can help you find all sorts of cool facts about the different constellations!) Plus, you can avoid latrines and outdoor bathroom use by just popping in the house when you need to. Maybe the best part: if one of the family members gets tired of being outside, they can sleep in a cozy bed!
How many of us have never explored our own neck of the woods? Sure, we live there, but most hometowns have something interesting all their own to explore. Check out local websites to find your hometown park, museum, or whatever local flavor your area has to offer! Talk to your family about which events are the best fit for you. Local farmers’ markets, festivals, and celebrations are great for the whole family and frequently scheduled each summer. Often during the summer, traveling fairs and carnivals will make their way across the country or region and set up camp for a few nights nearby. Maybe there’s a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try! Or you could take an educational route and visit a nearby historical landmark. Visiting battlefields, monuments, and national parks is an interactive way to learn about the not-so-distant past. It’s easy and fun to make your hometown feel like a special place. There’s often something new and exciting to discover right under your nose!
On hot and humid summer days, build a waterpark in the backyard! Sprinklers, water hoses, and buckets can become water features that provide hours of entertainment. Channel your old school field days and set up ring tosses, tug-of-war, and red light, green light. Water balloons and water guns can also make for splashing fights and team-versus play. Hit the internet for easy DIY water games, from tag to hide and seek to relay races and water balloon catching activities. Outdoor furniture can become home base or shields from water balloon attacks. Keep it creative and get the kids involved for your best outdoor games since childhood!
Looking for a more relaxing staycation? How about a DIY home spa day! You and your family can make a day of pampering yourselves in the comfort of your own home. The prep is minimal, and the payoff is worth it. Pick up some bubble bath soap, slice some cucumbers to put on your eyes, buy some face masks at the drug store (or make your own from household items using an online recipe) and get ready to relax. Enhance the mood with aromatherapy candles, spa sounds or soft, relaxing music, and warm towels (damp towels and washcloths can be heated in the microwave). Slip into matching family pajamas or your favorite bathrobe and treat yourself to a relaxed day of family fun.
Summertime is the perfect time for a family movie night. Throw it back to the days of drive-in movie theaters and set up an outdoor movie screen. You can use a sheet and projector or invest in an inflatable screen. Pick your favorite family movie, wait for the sky to get dark, and head to the backyard! Lay down some bed sheets or sleeping bags and set up folding beach chairs or other outdoor furniture to stay comfortable during your film fest! Kids will love the novelty of watching a movie outside, and you can enjoy the ambiance with your family. Make some popcorn, get your projector rolling, and enjoy!
Whatever you decide this summer, you can create a fun-filled family day full of creative activities. These staycation ideas will allow you to spend less and play more without leaving the comfort of your own space.