The Summer “Staycation”

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Ahhhh…….sweet summer is upon us.  School has ended (or at least slowed down), the weather is beautiful, and fun abounds! For some families the lure of vacation is calling their names.  However some years time constraints & budgets don’t allow a vacation.  So how do we add some excitement to the summer months?  A summer “staycation” of course!

What is a “staycation” you ask?  It’s simply a vacation at home.  It is low crowd, low cost fun.  I also love a “staycation” because it gives us an opportunity to do activities that we are often too busy for during the school year. A staycation has to have a few rules though.  Here are ours:

**Minimal cleaning & chores – I wish I could say none, but that can never happen.

**Outside distractions must be limited – This is hard for us.  We have to say “no” to a lot of things when we decide to just stay at home.

**Must be fun!

Now that we have covered the rules here are some of my top ideas for a “staycation.” Pretend to pack your bags and get ready for some fun!

1).  “Visit” another country.

Always dreamed of visiting Paris?  Why not pretend to visit there?  Research some of the local customs, of course the food, and plan a “Night in Paris.”  Dress up is optional.  If you are looking for more activities find a craft native to the area, do some virtual tours, watch a movie from the area, or listen to some music that you would hear if you were actually visiting.

2).   Hold an Arts & Crafts fair in your living room.

Why not host your very own family Arts & Crafts fair?  You can spend the day creating fun projects or pieces of art, and then put them on display.  Maybe paint some pottery or try a guided drawing video online.  Right now our favorite craft projects are made using fuse beads like these.  You can always make some finger foods and have the grandparents over to visit your “gallery.”

3).  Create a family sporting event.

Is your family the competitive type?  Then create a family sports tournament.  If the weather is nice you can hold Olympic style competitions outside.  Basketball, bicycling, and field day type races are all good ideas.  You can even create a family obstacle course.  Don’t give up this idea just because it’s a rainy day either.  You can always hold board game competitions or pull out the Wii.  Silly awards can even be handed out in an end of the day ceremony.  You could be the reigning crab walk champion.

4).  Turn your home into a resort, or a cruise ship.

One of our favorite family vacations is a cruise.  However, these are rarely in our budget.  Why not create one at home?  Many cruise lines, as well as resorts, offer their daily activity schedules online.  Usually several of these ideas can be duplicated at home.  Why not assign everyone a “cabin” and set sail.  You can play games, lay out in the sun, and tie dye t-shirts. Finish off the day with a fancy dinner that everyone pitches in to cook.  Dress up if you want, or walk around in “resort wear” all day long.  It’s your choice!

5).  Have a backyard camp-out.

Do you have a tent sitting in the garage?  Put it to use!  Grab your sleeping bags and head outside.  Of course no camp-out is complete without a bonfire and some flashlight tag.  If you have availability nearby you can even add fishing and hiking to your day.  Don’t forget the smores!

6).  Pack a picnic basket and go on a nature walk.

I have found that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.  There is nothing better than a picnic lunch on a pleasant summer day.  Be sure to slow down and examine what you find along the way.  My 7 year old is especially good at finding the smallest things outside.  She opens my eyes to beautiful things that I would have otherwise failed to notice.  Another fun nature activity is geocaching, and most kids love it.  Not sure how to get started?  Check out this getting started guide from Misty at Year Round Homeschooling.

7).  Be a tourist in your own town.  

Sometimes the best things are right under our noses.  Why not pretend like you are visiting your own town?  What are some of the best attractions & dining closest to you?  If you have extra money available take in a movie, or a game of bowling.  Find a new restaurant that you have never tried before.  Make sure you take plenty of pictures along the way, you are a tourist after all!

8).  Have a science day!

If you have a science center or museum in your town then that’s great, but what if you don’t? Then create one!  Spend the day doing fun & wacky science experiments.  There are loads of ideas on the internet for science experiments using household objects.  (Don’t forget to make slime, that’s a favorite here)  You can end the day at a huge “Planetarium.”  Just grab some blankets and head out under the stars.

9).  Hold a water day.

My family LOVES a good water park, but during peak months they are usually crowded and out of our price range.  Thankfully there are tons of ideas for water fun at home.  If you have a pool hold a summer Olympics competition.  If not grab a couple of water guns or a pack of water balloons.  Even a slip & slide can be purchased for fairly cheap at most local dollar stores.  You can even finish the day with homemade ice cream or snow cones.

10).  Enjoy pizza and a movie.

Does your family love a good movie?  Why not make an evening of it?  You can even let everyone create their own personal pizza before hand.  Don’t forget to add the popcorn and the candy.

So there you go……my ideas for a “staycation.”  My final tip is to plan a recovery week.  A good vacation always wears you out!  How about you?  Do you “staycation” in the summer?  If so, have you ever used any of these ideas?  What would you add?

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