Thank you to Kristl for allowing me to guest on The Budget Diet today!
Family Summer Staycation Ideas
As much as I’d love to run away to Walt Disney World right now, sometimes it’s just not in the budget for a big family vacation. Unfortunately my husband and I both have to work year-round and my daughter is also in summer school so this leaves little time for vacationing. We try to squeeze the most out of summer over the weekends but still try to do little fun things in the evenings. It really gives everyone something to look forward to and not focus on what we “can’t” do (take a vacation).
The ultimate summer-on-a-budget staycation is easy on the wallet and still full of fun! It just takes a little creativity and planning. Get the kids on board and write out your special at-home events on the calendar. Some of these activities could be spread out over the course of the week, leading up to the “big day”.
I’ve included some of our favorite ideas, along with Pinterest links to help you get started on the fun!
Arts & Craft Show
Local craft stores frequently mail out 50% coupons or you could search for one online. The dollar stores also have perfectly cheap crafting supplies. Purchase a few fun items and host an arts and crafts evening. Give everyone a sketch book and have a thirty minute session where you draw the portrait of the person next to you (this is sure to induce giggles!). Save your glass jars from jelly or spaghetti sauce and use acrylic or glass paints to decorate. Make pipe cleaner sculptures. Pull out those cheap watercolor trays and paint a scene from your backyard. Display everyone’s artwork and hang a handcrafted blue ribbon on each!
Under the Big Top
After we went to the circus (animal-free variety) a few years ago, my kids were fascinated with the tricks and skills they saw. A strip of blue masking tape on the patio makes an acceptable “tight rope”. See who can keep multiple hula hoops going at the same time (one around your neck and one around your arm?!). Practice balancing a balloon on your nose…and then walk the tight rope! Lots of great activity to get you off the couch!
Local campsites have inexpensive overnight fees and you could try to catch your dinner in the lake! Take a walk with flashlights to explore the sights and sounds after nightfall. If you don’t want to stray too far from home, camp in your backyard instead. Pitch a tent, barbecue dinner over coals, roast marshmallows and fall asleep under the stars. Or simply roll out the sleeping bags in the living room and “camp” in the house under the comfort of your ceiling fan!
If you don’t have your own pool, perhaps a family member or friend will let you “borrow” theirs for the day (especially if you volunteer to bring everyone dinner!). Our local YMCA has a great zero-entry pool, water slide and play area for just a few dollars per person. High schools often open their pools in the summer for a nominal fee. Wash the car, there is always an opportunity for a soapy sponge fight there! Or just set the sprinklers or spray the hose and run through the water, every kid loves that!
A Night at the Movies…in your living room
Free – Pull out an old favorite and host a themed movie evening complete with handcrafted posters, costumes and a themed dinner around the film. (ie: Watching Mulan? Make Chinese stir fry and rice). Pull out the floor pillows, pop up some kernels and settle down together after the sun has set.
Gather up stuff from around the house for game play. Empty 2-liter soda bottles and a ball for a knock ’em down game. Toss a ball into a bowl or a coffee can! Have a watermelon seed-spitting contest. Pull out the face paint for added fun! Serve hot dogs and potato chips for dinner outside, followed up with root beer floats.
A bucket of vanilla ice cream, a few toppings and candy from the dollar store and you can all have amazing sundaes! Find a delectable recipe on Pinterest and make it for dessert. Bake cupcakes and have fun creatively decorating them. Spoon frosting into plastic baggies and snip off the corner for quick and easy pastry bags.
Sofa pillows and blankets are fair game for fort making inside! Pull out the dining room chairs, drape sheets and use binder clips to hold them up. If you want to get fancy, a string of twinkle lights would be fabulous. I think a quiet evening of reading is in order under your forts because well, horseplay would make your city fall down!
Board Game Bonanza
Borrow some games that you don’t have from friends or family so you have a nice variety for all ages and host a game day at home. Simple sandwiches make a great meal and have plenty to snack on between turns. Write out your own Pictionary or Charades game ideas.
An Elegant Evening
Every kid has a dress up box or can at least borrow something fun from mom and dad for the evening. Time to pull out the sequins, get glamorous and have a fancy night at home. Light a few candles at the table and elevate even the most boring weekday dinner. Serve up a Shirley Temple in a fancy glass and the kids will feel so special!
Hope this list of Family Summer Staycation Ideas starts you on your way towards a memorable summer! While you are saving money by staying home, you can save towards your future dream vacation away. Please stop by to visit my site SavingUpForDisney.com for more DIY and budgeting advice to help you save.