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Do you need some downtime as a family, but don’t have an option to go on a fancy vacation somewhere far away? Then you’re in luck as staycations are getting more popular.
In times when we need to be socially distanced having a staycation has become a norm.
But you don’t have to be sad about it. In fact, there are many ways how to get the feeling of a vacation without going far from home. And it’s so much easier to organize vacation activities with kids at home than to plan itineraries and pack for a multiple-day trip.
What is a staycation
The explanation of what a staycation is actually can be seen in the word itself. It’s a vacation that is spent while staying in one place.
Pre-pandemic a staycation meant that you stay at home or somewhere close and bring the feeling of vacation and travel to you.
But now that it’s safer to just be at home, for many people staycations have become the only option on how to spend a vacation. And when you bring kids into this concept, it can actually be a great experience. And a lot simpler and cheaper to organize than an actual trip.
Family staycation ideas
Here are some ideas you can mix up to create your own perfect family staycation.
Some of these can be done in the comfort of your home, and some would require getting outside. Use your own judgment on what is safe and appropriate to your nearby area and the current situation.
Check out also these staycation ideas for singles! Maybe there’s something that you would like to do as a family as well.
Tour your own city
Have you explored your or a nearby city together with your kids?
Research online and check out what are the places that the tourists usually see and the things that they do. You can do them as well without having to pay for a hotel to stay the night.
If your children are older you can play a game where they are the guides and you are tourists. Suggest them to research and propose a route and read up on some history of the main attraction points.
Or you could try to find some graffiti or other instagramable locations that are popular among the tourists.
Don’t forget to take pictures and try to see the extraordinary things around you which you may take for granted but other people drive for hours just to see them.
Compete in a family game tournament
If you enjoy some board games in the evenings, you can turn your staycation into a real tournament.
Decide which games you will play on your staycation. Will it be something more active like a giant Jenga or Twister? Or does your family prefer to strategize in Catan or Monopoly? Video games that can be played together count too.
Then prepare some food, snacks, and a comfortable place for gaming beforehand. You don’t want to be stuck cooking dinner in the middle of a game.
You can even have a leaderboard and an award ceremony at the end to keep the excitement and motivation going.
Camp in your backyard
Camping can be a great adventure for the whole family. And you only need a backyard to do so in your staycation.
First, you get to build a camp together. Building tents, adding sleeping mats and sleeping bags, making a fire together – this all will be a great way to collaborate and develop your teamwork.
Second, you get to prepare food on the fire and outdoors which is always tasty. It can be a barbecue or s’mores, or both.
Third, you get to tell some stories before sleeping outdoors. If your children are old enough, you can come up with something spooky. For younger children, you can just tell them about some camping adventures from your own childhood.
The camping experience is something so simple yet exotic for children who are used to the comforts of their own beds and watching screens all evening. This is a great way to break away from the routine without breaking the bank.
Create your own water-park in the backyard
If it’s warm outside where you live creating your own waterpark is a great idea for a staycation.
For kids, you can arrange a pool area with a pool (obviously), some floating toys, and a few water-guns.
For adults you can bring lounging chairs and make cocktails.
Prepare snacks beforehand so that you don’t have to stop the family fun for a food break. Fruits would be a great option as they are healthy and perfect for summer.
Binge-watch movies in a marathon
Have you tried turning your home into a movie theater?
Introduce your kids to some great movies during your staycation. There are many movies that can be watched in a sequence like Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Pirates of the Caribbean.
I bet your children would love one of these as a theme of a staycation.
You can order thematic T-shirts, make popcorn, and make a cool home theater with a projector and some blackout curtains.
Go to Italy while staying at home
If it’s not possible to actually go to Italy, you can do the next best thing – bring Italy to you.
Let your kids decide which Italian foods they would love to try. You can’t go wrong if you offer pizza, pasta, lasagna, or gelato as some of the options.
Depending on the age of your children, you can choose a movie or a tour video of Italy.
For the children aged 13+, The Tourist could give the Italian vibe as it’s set in the spectacular city of Venice. For younger kids, it would probably be more fun to just watch a few Youtube videos of day trips in Italy.
Now there are many options for free virtual tours. You can trek the Dolomites virtually, explore the 360-view of paintings in the Vatican, or see the Colosseum for free.
Do a family arts and crafts session
Your children have probably done a lot of arts and crafts activities in the daycare and school, but have you ever tried creating something together as a family?
You can research ideas online for what you can make, but here are some simple ones.
Co-create a painting. Let everyone add something to the overall picture. Ask your children what they would like to add and help them to draw it. When the painting is ready, hang it in a prominent place.
In fall, go outside and collect some colorful leaves. Let them dry out and then create art by gluing them to a canvas and making shapes of animals, people, or other objects.
Or you could color some of the furniture from the kids’ room with some theme like a Spiderman headboard for the bed or Frozen themed top of a desk.
Go on a hike
If you’re looking for something more active, going on a hike is always an option.
Choose a route that would be appropriate for the age of your children. If the route itself is a simple one without any breathtaking mountain views or water streams to overcome, think of some activities that could make it memorable nevertheless.
You could have a picnic along the way. Prepare some food to take with you and maybe even look for a route with an option to make some fire for grilling.
If there is a river or a lake near the route, be sure to pack the swimming stuff with you.
If there are several hiking paths available in the area, you could let the children choose the route and lead you by looking for directions on an actual paper map. You could show them how a compass works, and try out some of the wild hiking equipment like the water filtering straws.
Unleash your creativity in a photo session
This is a fun activity if you don’t want to leave your home, but still want to have some great photos to remember your staycation.
Research beforehand what you need to prepare for the photoshoot. There are many fun and creative photography hacks that you could recreate together with your kids.
Another option to have fun is to make a fashion show and photoshoot that. Let your children make their own outfits from all of the clothes available at home. Create some interesting backgrounds by using curtains, chairs, and anything else you might find.
Let your kids take some photos of you as well. You might be surprised about their way of looking at things from a different angle and shooting pictures you might not have thought of.