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Traveling is not always in the cards for families during the summer. Flights for a whole family can be pricey. Even road trips can get expensive due to eating out and hotel stays (not to mention gas prices this year). So sometimes a staycation is the way to go. If you have decided on a staycation this vacation, we have some summer staycation essentials for you.
Just like planning travel with kids, a staycation takes some planning too. After all — and especially if you have school age kids — you still want to make summer epic for your children. Take out your calendar, write in your staycation time and start planning some fun things to do. We shared some spring break staycation ideas that can apply for summer too.
For those quieter days at home, these summer staycation essentials will help you have fun.
Set the Ambience
If you want to feel like you are on vacation, act as if you are on vacation.
Part of what’s great on vacation is not having to clean. So prior to your staycation, hire a house cleaner to come in and make your house sparkle. Hopefully it will last at least part way through your “vacation.”
After that is done, set the tone with some vacation appropriate music. Choose from an actual vacation soundtrack to remind you you’re on vacation. Or some beach music to make you feel like you are at a resort. Or choose some ocean sounds to relax into a feeling of actually being ocean side.
Outdoor family fun
Even if you’re not all on two wheels yet, there is nothing like a family bike ride during the summer. Bike accessories make this easy to do. For little kids you can choose a bike seat or a trailer. If you have older kids who are almost biking, you can use a ride-along trailer. For kids who bike but may not last for a long ride, you can use a bike tow bar. The tow bar allows your child to ride his own bike until he gets tired then the bar connects his bike to your bike to finish the ride. (We love this for our littlest when he graduated to two wheels!)
2. Picnic set
While you are biking, why not stop for a picnic in a local park? Not biking yet? Have a picnic in the backyard. Have the kids help make the lunch and fill the picnic set with their favorite foods.
3. Water bottle
Whether biking, picnicing or just playing outside at home, remember to hydrate. Keep water bottles handy and filled with cold water. A insulated water bottle is a good idea for outdoor play.
4. Water Balloons
After that bike ride, you may want to cool off with a family water balloon fight. If you haven’t seen them yet, the Bunch O Balloons water balloon packs are fabulously easy to prep for a water balloon showdown. They fill fast and pop off getting closed as they go.. Just remember to have a smooth container, perhaps with a little water in it for them to fall into as they pop off.
5. Sprinkler (or play pool)
If the water balloons didn’t cool you down enough. Get out your trusty sprinkler. Isn’t it great when you can get two things done at once even on staycation? Water the lawn while letting the kids cool off playing in the water. Any old sprinkler will do but you can make it more vacation like with a fun sprinkler.
I don’t know about you but even I can’t resist trying to pop bubbles. So much fun on a summer day. Run around the yard popping little bubbles from a bubble machine. Yup, you don’t even need to blow bubbles any more. Bubble machines create a bunch of bubbles so the whole family can chase the bubbles as they float away. Or have a contest on who can make the biggest giant bubble.
7. Outside science
Raise your hand if you are just a bit OCD. (I’m raising my hand.) What better time than summer time to do science experiments… outside! Much easier to wash the mess away than to clean up inside. Fun and learning combined into one. Need some ideas? Get the outdoor science lab book and see what family-friendly experiments excite your kids.
8. Outdoor games
There are the classic outdoor games from the simple find a ball and play catch to the more intricate croquet. You can play badminton or outdoor bowling. There is even an outdoor giant Jenga-like game. Looks like fun!
Rainy Day Inside Fun
9. Board games
A time-honored tradition that’s appropriate for all ages, gathering around to play board games. You can find something for everyone from education (our kids like Wildcraft) to silly (our kids like Gas Out — seriously it’s a fart game, who thinks of this stuff?). Find a classic family board game and engage in some fun with your kids. Game on.
Our kids will pull every blanket in the house to create an epic fort that fills a room. It’s a fun indoor activity that engages their imagination and engineering skills. If you don’t have a pile of blankets, you can prep for fort building with a fort kit. It comes with fabric and ways to connect it. Once made, the fort is a great place for a little light reading. Between the fort and a good book, kids can be transported to anytime, anywhere in the universe.
11. Family movies
If the fort is big enough, perhaps it can encompass the TV and the whole family can get cozy for a family movie night. Maybe you want to settle in for a summer classic like Jaws or something less nail biting like Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer. There are plenty of summer family movies to choose from.
Do you have other summer staycation essentials you can’t do without? Tell us in the comments.
By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004
Copyright 2022 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.
We originally published this post in June 2018. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.