Summertime means sun, fun and family vacations. However, if your budget won’t allow for you to get out of town this year, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have lots of fun together. Here are a few staycation ideas:
1. Set up your own water park. Use your own pool, slip ‘n slide and sprinklers. Arrange them in an obstacle course for the kids to run and play and stay cool. Be sure to make some popsicles because it isn’t a water park without frozen treats!
2. Plan a neighborhood BBQ. Assign a food item to all of the neighbors, bring your chairs, coolers and have a great time. By each household providing one item, your cash outflow is minimal and you get to have a fun party (and maybe get to even KNOW your neighbors a little better).
3. Visit your local museums. Many times, there is little to no admission to these venues. They are a great way to add a little culture to your life — plus they are air conditioned and can keep you cool! If you live in Kansas City, check out this link for great 2-for-1 coupon offers.
4. Bring the ballpark home. Let’s face it, baseball tickets can be out of your budget’s reach, so why not bring them home? Dawn your favorite team’s apparel, cook up all of the baseball park fixins’ such as hot dogs, nachos and soft drinks and turn on the tube. Root for the home team from home (and think about how great it will be to not fight traffic when the game is over).
5. Story time at the library. This is a great way to stimulate your child’s love of reading. Check out your local library for summer reading events.
6. Camp out in your own backyard. We have done this a couple of times and it is so much fun! We pick up the makings for s’mores, tell stores and try to catch a few fireflies before we climb into our tent for the night. Our city is actually sponsoring a family campout in the park, so check with your local Parks & Recreation department for similar events.
7. Nature Hike. My daughter would go on nature hikes with her dad every day if we would let her. She loves to go and helps her dad by pickup up trash, looking for wildlife and learning about the plants and trees that are growing in our own neighborhood.
8. Picnic in the Park. My kids would live in the park if I let them. So, we pack a picnic lunch and load up to head out and enjoy the equipment followed by lunch before we head home for naptime.
Of course, there are always rainy days in the summer, so it helps to have some back up plans in place. Here are a few ideas:
1. Cool Whip Painting. This has to be one of my children’s FAVORITE activities. We take cool whip and split it into 4 bowls and I tint them with food coloring (stick to the drops rather than the gels). I get out paintbrushes (bought specifically for this project) and I let them “paint” on paper plates. I’d recommend putting on old shirts (or going shirtless) and then plan on an immediate dip in the bathtub for cleanup.
2. Indoor obstacle course. Use the table leaf against the couch to make a slide. Set up the dining room chairs for the kids to crawl in between. We tie a jump rope between 2 doors and do the limbo followed by walking with a stuffed animal on our heads.
3. Go on a treasure hunt. I try to keep special treats such as M&Ms or Smarties on hand. Then, we set up a treasure hunt to provide clues to help one another track down the secret treasure. Since my kids are younger, we draw pictures, but you can make up riddles for your older kids to solve to figure out where to head for the next clue.
4 Bake some cookies. Kids LOVE to bake. I have my children help me with measuring and pouring since so that they are learning while they are having fun. There’s nothing better than warm chocolate chip cookies when it is cold outside.
No matter what you plan on doing this summer, the most important thing is to just have fun and do it as a family. Your children will love spending quality time with you – no matter WHAT you decide to do.