The thought of spring break or summer vacation may conjure up images of sandy white beaches or snow-covered ski trails, but not every school break can be filled with exciting travels. Wish as we may, some vacations will inevitably be spent at home.
But staying at home doesn’t have to mean sitting in the house and watching the hours tick by! Below we’ve rounded up some helpful staycation tips and creative ideas to turn your staycation with kids into an enriching experience for everyone in the family.
7 Creative Staycation Ideas for Families
Ready to map out your summer or spring break staycation? Keep your kids’ minds and bodies active with these entertaining staycation ideas for families.
1. Camp at home.
Home is more fun when it doesn’t look like home! Build a pillow fort, have a kid-friendly picnic, toast s’mores over an open fire or even set up a tent in your own backyard.
2. Take a “learning road trip.”
To show your kids that you don’t have be in a classroom to learn new things, plan a mini road trip complete with fun homemade maps and healthy on-the-go goodie bags. On the way, tour your city’s best learning hotspots:
- Used bookstores
- Science, art or history museums
- Botanical gardens
- Zoos or aquariums
3. Set playdates.
Healthy snack plates, fun social time for the kids and an opportunity for parents to chat about their kids’ latest shenanigans? That’s a staycation win for everyone!
Dedicating a few hours of vacation time to help others will show your kids how important volunteering really is. Do some chores for a neighbor, make homemade cards for local hospital wards or pick out groceries to stock up the community food pantry.
5. Film a family TV show.
With your mobile phone and a little imagination, you can make your kids the star of their favorite reality TV show, whether that’s MasterChef Junior or America’s Got Talent. You’ll not only encourage creative thinking but also preserve some truly priceless memories!
6. Explore the outdoors.
Play catch, watch the sunset, go on a plant-finding expedition…anything that gets your little ones exploring the great outdoors.
7. Have a movie marathon.
Settle into the sofa, set out some kid-approved junk food alternatives and host a day of movies and PJs. Make it even more amusing by sticking to your children’s favorite cinematic themes like dinosaurs, fairy tale princesses or outer space.
Survival Tips for a Staycation With Kids
Don’t just survive your staycation with kids; use these simple tips to make your week at home an experience to remember.
1. Make plans with your kids.
A whole week off may sound like a lot, but you might be surprised how few activities you really need to fill up your schedule. Before the break starts, sit down with your kids and pick out some activities together.
Planning the week collaboratively will make your kids feel included and will help you choose activities that they’re excited about, hopefully helping to prevent any tantrums among the younger ones. Just like the dinner table, vacations usually run more smoothly when kids know what to expect!
Don’t feel like you need to plan every single minute, either—just choose a few bigger items and then leave time for relaxation and spontaneity.
2. Have back-up activities ready.
No matter how many plans you’ve set on the calendar, you’ll likely experience a few cries of “Mom, dad, I’m bored!” When active feet and curious minds are looking for something to do, having a list of go-to activities will help reduce last-minute stress.
Fortunately, these back-up plans don’t have to be anything major! Try playing a board game, starting a puzzle, reading a new book, walking to the park or making homemade granola with whatever you have in the pantry.
3. Stock up on easy snacks.
Whether you’re running around town or having a dance-off at home, the last thing you want to do is stop the fun and games just to find something to eat. Make snack time easy by setting out an independent snack station—one of our favorite kid-friendly kitchen organization hacks.
Fill the station with wholesome snacks that your children can grab at any time:
- Whole grain crackers
- Air-popped popcorn
- Fresh fruit salad
- Veggie sticks and hummus
- Homemade trail mix
- Turkey jerky
Want to prep more than just snacks? Nurture Life can save the day with freshly made kids’ meals ready to serve in 3 minutes or less. Order a week’s worth of lunch and dinner so that you never have to push pause on your staycation with kids.
4. Set aside some “me time.”
As you consider how to plan a staycation for your family, don’t forget about you! After all, you can’t have fun with the family if you’re so frazzled that you can’t think straight. If possible, plan at least one activity that will give you some alone time, whether that’s a morning playdate at a friend’s or an evening of babysitting by family.
Tips for Bouncing Back From Your Spring Break Staycation
With a full week of exciting family activities, a staycation with kids can be just as thrilling as an out-of-town getaway. But that also means that getting back into your family’s regular habits can be just as difficult as any other trip!
Now that you know how to plan a staycation, here are a few simple tips to make the end of that staycation easier:
- Leave an “adjustment day.” Keep the final day of your staycation free so that you can settle back into your normal routine. Get back to any school-year house rules you might have for bedtime, meal time, screen time and so on.
- Build up excitement. Some children will be more than ready to get back to school, and others may need a little more encouragement. Try to psych your kids up for seeing their friends and teachers again and sharing all about their fun staycation.
- Don’t worry! A week away from school is no small thing, so it’ll take some time for your little ones to adjust to real life. Don’t feel bad if bedtime doesn’t happen exactly on schedule or if the days seem a little more hectic than usual.
Want more transition tips to wrap up a staycation with kids? Read more about how to simplify your back-to-school routine here.
Whatever you do on your summer or spring break staycation, we hope that these tips will help you have more fun and less stress. With just a little planning and a lot of flexibility, you’ll show your little ones that the most important part of vacation is spending time together—and that’s something you can do anywhere!