Thursday, July 7, 2011


Staycation...All I Ever Wanted??

Um, no.

But in this time of $4 per gallon of gas and even pricer flights, some families will be opting for staying closer to home to find fun this summer.  So, here are five great ideas of things we can do to make it a fun "Stay-cation":

1. So, what do you really want to do?
Sit down with the kids and ask them what they would like to do this summer.  Have them come up with a list of 10 things they want to make sure and do.  Sometimes the responses might surprise you.   My kids have wanted to "read 100 books" to "have a sleep-over with a favorite Aunt" to "see a bunch of snakes".

It is also a fun way to "check off" your summer accomplishments with a colorful list and a great starting point for a summer scrapbook!

2. Did you know there is an ice-cream making factory 20 minutes from home?
Spend some time researching free or low-cost things to do in your area.  Most cites have "Mom Blogs" or "Frugal City Fun" sites that have tons of great ideas.  Find some fun ideas there and pitch them to your family.  This is a fantastic way to get to know your local area better.  Last summer, my family toured a former president's home, the Blue Bell Ice Creamery, climbed an incredible monolith, and watched 50 cent movies on Mondays.....all within 2 hours of home.

More great and relatively low cost ideas to do with family are Geo-caching or LetterBoxing.  Both get kids outdoors and on a Treasure Hunt!

3. Unplug.  No, seriously.
As I have learned, the best quality time I get with my kids is when they do not have an iPhone or Nintendo DSi in front of them.  Every few weeks or so, we have a Day with No Electronics where we play games, cook together, read together, go on a bike ride, swim - you name  it - just don't touch that tv!  I have had the BEST conversations with my kids on these days - ones that I will always remember.

Take it a step further and have each family member design a day - let them choose the menu and activities - and the rest of the family has to go along with it, as everyone will get their own day to design.

4. Let's Read 100 Books!
Set a lofty summertime goal and work toward it.  Choose something your family enjoys, like attending baseball games, geo-caching, hiking all the local trails, or reading.  Set a goal, like "hike at least 10 new trails this summer!" and make a plan to achieve it by the time school is back in session.  Maybe plan a fun "reward" as a family when you accomplish your goal.  For example, when our family finishes our goal of reading 100 Books this summer (yes, that's our goal!), we plan on going ice skating together.

5. What, this is learning???
After my 3rd child was born and I knew we would not be doing any summer traveling that summer, I brainstormed fun ideas to keep the kids looking forward to something all summer long.  So we attempted to receive a postcard from every state in the USA.  It took quite a bit of "social networking" (thank you email & Facebook), and we received a postcard from all 50 states (In all we received 168 postcards!!).  My kids have never been more excited to get mail, find the state on the map, and check it off - they never realized they were learning!

Have you had a fantastic Staycation?  Please tell us what you did in the comments below!  We may feature your ideas on next week's "Tuesday Travel Tips!"


Connie Weiss said...

I loved your post card activity! I hope to do that one with my kids when they get older.

Hallie said...

We did an activity like your postcard one only we took it one step farther... as we got each post card, we went to the library and checked out a book about that state! We discovered a series of books that had an alphabet for each state!!

We then had a snack or meal from each state... and we made a scrapbook from all the postcards we got (gotta love the states Cricut cartridge!). My girls were only 2 and 5 at the time but they still remember it and like looking thru the album. Which reminds me... we still had a few states meals to make... better go dig out the album again! :)