Have you found yourself having to scratch plans for a much-anticipated vacation or getaway because of recent events? Or maybe money is tight and you’re just looking for a way to have some fun by making new memories at home, while breaking up the monotony. Perhaps you have young kids and the thought of traveling with them right now is too exhausting.
If any of these scenarios describe your current life, you’re not alone!
The good news is, you can still have a memorable time at home. Use these simple staycation ideas for families to make amazing new memories and “get away from it all” right in the comfort of your own home!
But First, What is a Staycation?
If you aren’t familiar with the term, you may be asking yourself, “What is a staycation?”. Well, a staycation is a “vacation” that you take while STAYing home, or staying local.
Some people may plan a staycation in their own town, where they purposely spend their week off enjoying local events and amenities that they don’t partake in on a regular basis.
Sometimes, parents will send the kids to their grandparents and enjoy a staycation in their own home, just the two of them.
For this post, we’re going to focus on ideas for a staycation at home with the whole family.
Why Staycation Ideas Are Important to Have
When the pandemic hit last March, my family hadn’t planned a getaway for Spring Break. However, we were looking forward to “vacationing” at home. Where we live in Georgia, our pools open April 1, so we were very much anticipating the option to enjoy our Spring Break poolside. Mix in a couple fun outings and we would be all set!
As time went on, we realized it would not be a normal spring break. Or summer. Or year, for that matter.
I had to start thinking of things we could do during our time off while maintaining social distancing requirements. A year later, families are still having to reconsider whether traveling is a good idea right now or not.
It will always be a good idea to have some staycation ideas in your back pocket. Whether it just be better for your budget, you need to break up the monotony of your weekends, you’re a homebody (I see you!), or God forbid another pandemic comes to ruin our good time.
Please note, I am not making light of the situation. I know there are bigger concerns than the healthy family who is missing out on floating in the water or vacationing somewhere wonderful.
But also, it’s okay to be bummed about lost family time and new memories that could have been made on a trip you spent mental space and/or money on that can no longer come to fruition. It’s also okay to give your family some great memories that don’t require travel.
I believe we can still have a great time “getting away from it all” right from our own homes.
Family Staycation Ideas That’ll Make You GLAD You Stayed Home
Get ready to have an insanely fun staycation with your kids. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. The whole family will appreciate the time together, where everyone is fully present and fully engaged.
Let’s get started!
1. Go off the Grid
I think the quickest way for us to feel “away from it all” is to unplug. Turn off those devices that connect you to the outside world and see how instantly and more deeply you connect with the people inside your four walls. I bet you say “yes” more frequently, partake in more shenanigans, and laugh more freely.
Quick Tip: It can be hard to ignore notifications. From personal experience, I’ve learned I have to keep my phone in a different room and hit that good ole’ DO NOT DISTURB toggle button to avoid the temptation of taking a “quick peek” that turns into mindless scrolling.
2. Camp Out
Pitch a tent in your backyard. Roast hot dogs, make s’mores, the whole bit.
I’m fairly certain that nothing makes the weight of the world melt away like hearing the fire crackle and seeing its glow reflecting off your family’s faces as they sit around its warmth.
Quick Tip: If you don’t already have items like tents and fire pits, rejoice in the fact that they’re fairly inexpensive in the grand scheme of things and can be used over and over! If you don’t think you’ll use them beyond a staycation, then please don’t purchase. (You may be able to borrow from friends or family that already own these things!) However, if you’ve been thinking about investing in these types of items for your family, I have a few recommendations that my family has used and loved for years!
The tent my family uses cannot be found on Amazon. (We purchased ours from REI several years ago.) Our friends have this one that can be ordered from Amazon, and they haven’t had any problems with it. There may be some sticker shock, but a quality tent is an investment.
There are so many variations to choose from when it comes to fire pits. Ours is a super simple design, very similar to this one.
3. Family-Wide Experiment
Do something that will get the creative juices flowing. Maybe do an egg-drop competition or create a huge marble maze together! A quick Pinterest search will yield TONS of ideas!
4. Go Full-On Nerd
We love to play board games, card games, do puzzles, etc. The classics are good, but here are a few of my family’s favorite games that may not already be in your arsenal:
I judged a book by its cover and thought I was going to hate this one. Boy, was I wrong! King of Tokyo is a dice-rolling game where you can attack your opponents, earn stars, rebuild health, and purchase cards to aid you in all of the above. A player wins when he’s earned 20 stars or killed off all the other monsters.
Planting and harvesting beans may not sound like a great time, but let me assure you— it is! This game will have your whole family bartering and making deals. The winner is the player with the most profitable bean field!
This game is so fun to see how people associate certain words with others! In Code Names, players will give their partners a one-word clue to get them to guess the appropriate word (or words) on the board. Be careful not to guess a word for the other team, or worse… the secret assassin card, which results in immediate loss.
This is like a mix between BINGO, Connect 4, and Rummy. Play a card from your hand, and place a chip on a corresponding space on the game board. When you have five in a row, it’s a Sequence. Play defense by blocking your opponents or removing their chips. With a combo of strategy and luck, you’ll be a winner.
This is the best mix of Charades and Taboo! It’s a great party game, but if you have a large family it’ll work, too! There are TONS of separate card packs that you can buy to keep the game fresh long after you’ve gone through the originals.
Time’s Up is played over 3 rounds with a new challenge to getting your team to guess what’s written on your card. Please note that not all of the cards are references kids will be familiar with. To combat this, I usually go through the deck beforehand and filter out any that will fly over my kids’ heads.
A nice, calm game, Mexican Trains is a new spin on classic dominos! I love that this game is easy for all ages, and play time can be adapted to fit any schedule and/or attention span. And the nice storage case is a definite plus!
Quick Tip: It is my belief that board games never go to waste! We replay them over and over and over. You could also consider doing a game swap with some of your friends to weed out any that have gotten “stale”. One man’s trash is another’s treasure, after all!
5. Cook-Off or Bake-Off
I don’t know about you, but my kids LOVE to watch cooking competition shows. If you’re doing a staycation with kids, consider hosting one yourself! You can control the chaos by limiting ingredients and which kitchen appliances/utensils are allowed.
These silicone spatulas are amazing! (You seriously won’t want to use anything else on your eggs after introducing one of these into your life!) Pair with an apron and your little chef will feel like a professional in Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen (minus the swearing and name-calling… hopefully!)
6. Get outside. It’s still allowed!
Go for a hike, ride bikes, kayak, fish, fly kites. Play sports like whiffle ball, basketball, flag football, and kickball.
Jump on the trampoline. Set up an obstacle course. Play cornhole, ladderball, or washers. If you have a long driveway, you could even play pickle ball!
Here are a few outdoor activities we own and would recommend. Again, these are things we use all year. I’m not suggesting you buy any of these items solely to enjoy during your staycation at home. But, if you’re looking for things that will bring entertainment beyond your staycation, I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these:
My boys love to play flag football with their neighbor friends. It also makes a great birthday gift for when your kids have a birthday party to attend!
I’m pretty sure my boys’ childhood is being shaped by this right here. Aside from breaking up some heated arguments, I am forever grateful for the countless hours that whiffleball has entertained my boys and their friends outside.
Someone gifted my boys with this duo several years ago and we just thought it was the neatest thing! A kid who doesn’t love kickball would be scarce to find, I think, and it’s something the whole family can play without requiring much skill! Of course, you don’t need the bases to enjoy kickball— you can totally designate “bases” with things already in your backyard— trees, swing set, porch, etc. But the adjustable bases were a thoughtful touch!
This is so fun! We set it up ladder ball in our backyard when we have friends over and take it with us when we go camping. It’s lightweight but sturdy and easy to cart around in its bag.
I love that this game packs up neatly and can be carried around to easily set up for picnics, camping, etc. I bought this set as a gift for my husband a couple years ago. It was our 11th anniversary (steel), and since the washers are made of steel, I made sure to tell him “I STEEL love you.” He didn’t laugh quite as hard as I did, but he loved the gift. Haha
7. Stream Concerts… Or Make Your Own
Enjoy a concert from the comfort of your own home where you don’t have to worry about traffic, crowds of obnoxious people, and public bathrooms. Ha! (Sorry, is my homebody-ness showing??)
Many artists are streaming their concerts right now, whether it be on Instagram, YouTube, or other platforms. A quick google search can open up a bunch of possibilities to suit your tastes.
If your kids are like mine, they might not be satisfied to just be the audience. Maybe you can put on your own concert at home! Family members who play instruments could put on a show . And Bluetooth karaoke microphones make anyone a star!
Read Also: Summer Schedule– Read why you NEED a Summer Schedule for your kids and print a Free Summer Schedule printable to hang on your fridge. Kids thrive with structure!
Am I losing cool points with you yet? Hear me out.
A couple years ago, I threw my (adult) brother a murder mystery party for his birthday. It was SUCH a blast! I turned my parents’ basement into a speakeasy, made a simple lasagna and salad, and we had the best time! Here are a few photos of the evening:
This is the mystery pack we did, and I’m ONLY linking it so you can get an idea. I have no idea why this one is so expensive right now (I definitely didn’t pay that much for it), but there are other themes within the How to Host a Murder brand that I’m sure are just as good and come at a lower price point. (A friend of mine has had great success in finding similar murder mystery packs at thrift stores and garage sales, too!)
How to host a murder:
When my kids caught wind of this, they were BEGGING to participate in one! It’s hard to find appropriate material for younger kids. I found this site on Pinterest, and it looks to be aimed at preteens and teens! I’m looking forward to choosing a theme with the kids. We’ll get super into setting the ambiance and dressing as our characters!
9. Imagine Travel
What if you picked a couple places to “travel” to and went all-out with it?
Choose a destination, whether it be a new city or a foreign country. Go on YouTube for some guided tours or virtual field trips to said destination. Google its history, landmarks, and attractions to add to your “itinerary”. Dress the part of a tourist or local. Cook some inspired-cuisine and listen to the music of its people.
Family members could be responsible for different parts of this “trip”, and everyone will learn a little sum’n-sum’n, too!
10. Water Your Animals
Is water a natural mood-enhancer for your family too? I’m currently mourning the fact that we are not at the pool RIGHT NOW.
If going to the beach or pool is out of the question for you too, no matter the reasons why, there are still plenty of ways to have fun in the sun.
- Water balloons— These are my absolute favorite! Fill 100 balloons in seconds! Plus, they’re biodegrable so no worries about picking up all those teeny, tiny pieces of busted balloon!
- Ice Excavation— We love to do these! Put some little toys into a container filled with water, freeze it, and then give everyone “excavation tools” like mini hammers, paintbrushes, etc. to free their treasure.
- Sprinkler— Duh. Does anyone have a favorite summer memory that DOESN’T include running through the sprinkler? Methinks not.
- Squirt Guns— I can already tell this will be a hit for all the males in my house, Husband included. I’m picturing gear, obstacles, and lots of laughs!
- Inflatable Water Toys—I’m seriously considering purchasing one of these for our backyard! Anyone have experience with these or one you’d recommend?? Please let me know in the comments!
Which of these Staycation Ideas for Families is Your Favorite?
Of course going away and exploring new territory is fun and exciting. However, sometimes it’s just not always possible or wise. When it’s a better idea to stay home, I hope you’ll consider my Staycation Ideas for Families.
Of course, you probably won’t get through the whole list during one staycation…which one is your favorite? What would you add to the list? Please let me know in the comments!
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Summer Schedule for Kids (AKA Mom’s Sanity Saver!) – Enjoy summer with a side of structure so your kids don’t go completely feral over their break!