How is your summer so far? Kids in camp? Trip to Europe? Quiet afternoons by the pool with your favorite cocktail and a few of your closest friends? Didn’t think so… we feel you and are here to tell you that you are not alone; 2020 has been a year like no other and more than ever families this summer have had to cancel plans and reimagine vacation time.
Enter the staycation. Staycations have been gaining popularity recently but often involve activities like going to the movies, concerts, museums, outdoor markets, crowded pools, or local attractions like amusement parks. Many of these activities are simply out of the question for families, whether due to health and safety concerns, financial constraints, or a combination of both.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, uninspired, and progressively extending screen time (we’re not judging!), and playing “the silent game” just isn’t cutting it anymore, below are some great budget-friendly, staycation ideas your whole family can enjoy while maintaining safe social distancing.
Here are our best family staycation ideas for the summer of 2020:
Outdoor Staycation Ideas
We love this idea because it gets everybody in the family moving. After all the quarantining it will feel great to get some exercise and fresh air. Look for a hiking trail out of town, or something off the beaten track. Research it in advance (that’s part of the fun too), and look for all the things you read about while you’re on the trail. Challenge the kids to find wild blueberry bushes, maple trees or chipmunks. Make sure to pack some trail mix, yummy snacks and lots of water. The best reason for this idea? You can legitimately tell your kids to go take a hike!
Have an old fashioned picnic
Great sites and great bites! Go through your attic, basement or storage cupboards and dig out those old baskets, coolers, and a few blankets to spread out on the ground for a long leisurely picnic. Bring along some frisbees, footballs, baseball gloves, bats and balls, kites, soap bubbles for younger kids, and let the children play. (Adults can join too, but that’s optional.) How about getting a couple of hammocks and tying them between trees, and then enjoying the wind in your toes as they stick up out of the hammock?
Make a massive BBQ
This can be combined with a hike and done as an outdoor picnic or stand alone. Either make a BBQ at the end of the hike, or come home after the hike. Or just forget the hike and make one major Smorgasbord BBQ. Prepare all your favorite meats or meat alternatives like the classic steaks, ribs, burgers, and hotdogs. Corn is also a classic, but have you ever tried vegetable shish kebabs? You can skewer pretty much any vegetable and and the BBQ will make it taste yummy. You can also get creative and try different recipes, or national styles of BBQing. Have you ever had a Korean grill? Japanese grill? Mongolian? Look them up online and try something different. To reduce the risk of waste while still encouraging picky eaters to try new foods, have centralized dishes rather than serve individual portions. While the food is cooking slowly, relax, mellow out and enjoy your favorite beer, and spoil the kids with an ice cold root beer in a frosty mug.
And of course, don’t forget to roast marshmallows at the end.
Hunting (We really mean Birdwatching, but hunting sounds more exciting for the kids)
Do you know what types of birds live in your area? Look online and see what kinds of birds can be seen in your city (at this time of year), or in a large park or forest near you. Do some research (again, this too can be part of the activity) and print up some photos that you can take with you to identify the birds. Head out to a good spot where you might find some of these birds and look out for them. Find some places to hide in trees, and challenge your kids to see who can spot the birds first. You can give them disposable cameras (yes, that’s a thing – you can Google it – and creating photo albums can be its own activity) and give out prizes to the best “hunter“ – the one who captures the best image.
Bike tour of city or neighborhood
When was the last time you went biking with your kids for more than just a ride around the block? Why not create an organized agenda, or a route with a purpose, and have the entire family follow it? This can be a great opportunity to give your kids some leadership tasks. Ask them to create the tour – choose sites to see and lead the biking. Sites could be famous landmarks if you live in a big city, or it could just be something noteworthy to your children – such as the spot where they skinned their knees when they were “little” or their favorite place to get ice cream. This is a chance to see the world through their eyes.
All you need is a tent, sleeping bags, flashlights, and some ghost stories! You can download some pretty cool sky mapping apps. You can point your phone up at the stars and see the universe mapped out before you on the phone. The best part about this idea is that if the kids don’t sleep too well at night, they may sleep a bit the next day!
Indoor Staycation Ideas
Beautify your home
Looks like we’ll all be spending more time at home than we used to. The good news about not being able to travel so freely is the money we can save. Perhaps some of this money can be used to spruce up your home. Can you and your kids paint a room together as a project? If that makes you cringe then how about more simple ideas…. such as going shopping for a few fun items. Is there an IKEA near where you live? Or a similar type of store? You can roam around the store and try to find one thing for every person’s room.
A cute chair or desk? Plush toys? Fun carpets? Trendy picture frames? Lighting? The beauty of this idea is that besides the time you all spend together shopping, the money you spend “stays” with you – via the little touch ups you get in your home.
You can call this idea the film festival but your kids will call it a movie marathon or binge watching. (You didn’t really think you could escape screen time all together, did you?). Either way, you spend a large amount of time watching a variety of movies (or TV shows). Or, you can choose one franchise and watch all the movies – such as the Star Wars series, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, etc. Add some popcorn and you’re all good to go.
If you do call it a film festival, be prepared to explain to your kids what “film” means.
Play Kids Against Maturity
This idea is the best, because, well, it’s our game. But besides that, it can be an add-on to all the other ideas. It can be played at a picnic, on a break during a hike, as part of the BBQ, or at your backyard campground.
Kids Against Maturity is for fun-loving parents who have fun loving kids. Made by parents for parents, its unapologetic toilet humor is sprinkled with fun innuendoes for the adults and is the ultimate combo for crazy fun, family game playing.
An award-winning game, it was voted one of the top 20 family games of 2020 by CNN. The game is also travel-friendly, making it the perfect companion for those family road and camping trips and most of the ideas mentioned above. Now with the availability of expansion packs, we can unabashedly say that Kids Against Maturity is one of the best family staycation ideas due to the enormous amount of fun you will have as a family.