Summer break has finally arrived! My family is on week one and so far my newly minted 3rd grader is basking in all that break has to offer: sleeping in, wearing whatever she wants and catching up on all the fun around-the-house things previously relegated to weekends. I figure we might have another week left in this sweet spot before she starts looking to be entertained. Do you have little ones in the same position? A summer staycation may be just what you need, read on for some ideas to get your planning started.
Whether out of town travel is on the agenda for summer or not, a Summer Staycation is an excellent way to give your kids some extra special fun while making new memories. Although you can take a stretch of days together, one benefit of staying close to home is the option to break up the fun to last all summer long. There are options for every budget and age range; as a seasoned staycationer I have some tips to make the most of yours.
- Become a tourist in your own town
You probably have your favorite go-to attractions in your area that provide tried and true fun but I’d be willing to bet there are a number of great things nearby that you haven’t yet explored. Look up your state’s local tourism website and take a fresh view of the area. There are bound to be some treasures hiding in plain sight. Let your budget and your children’s ability to withstand a long car or train ride set the radius of fun. Once you’ve narrowed down a list of options review it with your kiddos and let them be part of the decision-making process.
- Scope out local travel deals on sites like Groupon, Crowdcut, LivingSocial and Priceline
There are often dining and hotel deals close to home at a fantastic price. Checking into a hotel is exciting stuff for kids and you needn’t stray too far to have a great time. My family checked into a hotel within ten minutes of home at the end of last summer for my daughter’s birthday-she was no less excited than when we’ve traveled six hours. If anything my kids enjoyed it more because they didn’t have to endure a long car ride. Playing vactioner in your own town lets your family view the familiar with new eyes.
- Make a field trip out of a day
Kids love it when they get the chance to know a little more about what’s going on than Mom or Dad. Why not re-visit a place they discovered on a school field trip the previous year? Your kid will love sharing their knowledge of the place and relish having the extra time to explore every nook and cranny that they probably didn’t get when they went with their whole class.This is especially fun for little siblings that aren’t school-age yet as it gives them a chance to experience one of the most thrilling parts of school. Want to really make your kids’ day? Give them a little cash for the gift shop.
- Plan an Opposite Day
There is magic to be found in relaxing the rules a little bit now and then. We’ll be spending at least one day gleefully breaking some of my own rules. I plan to surprise my kiddos with dessert for breakfast over a movie at home. Then off to the Dollar Store with a bunch of ones for them to spend on whatever their heart’s desire followed by an around-the-town treasure hunt for those quarter machines that are typically off limits. To cap it off we’ll stay up past bedtime and have dinner out. The restaurant doesn’t have to be fancy-any meal out after dark is an unusual treat for kids. Bonus fun if you let them wear their favorite costume or pajamas.
- Let your kids make the plans
Sit down with your kids and give them the budget and distance constraints and see what they come up with. This is a fun one to introduce at the start of summer because kids tend to enjoy plotting a “Kid’s Choice Day” almost as much as the day itself. You can split the day between kids or let them each have their own. This is the day they are guaranteed to be talking about for months to come.
Whatever you and your family come up with your summer staycation is sure to leave you with warm memories that will long outlast the season. If you have some ideas I missed please leave them in the comments, inspiration is always welcome here!
AUTHOR BIO: Sarah Grecula is a story enthusiast, working mom, wife, daughter sister, friend and proud FabKids Brand Ambassador. Her work has been published on Mamalode, Scary Mommy, the FabKids blog and her own blog Projectwritethismoment.com. Her favorite ways to spend a day are adventuring with her family or curling up with a good book.