Staycation: Making Magical Memories at Home
For various reason, vacations can’t always include sandy beaches or mountain snow. Sometimes, we just have to spend our vacation time at home, and that’s ok. Staycations aren’t something to just endure and survive, they can be filled with magical memories. Some of my family’s most memorable moments have come from our time at home or just visiting nearby attractions. Additional perks of a staycation include: no long distance travel, no packing, it won’t break the bank, and you can still hang out with your beloved pets.
Are you ready to make some magical at-home memories…check out some staycation ideas below:
One of my boys’ favorite staycation activities is having a living room or backyard camp out. Yes, we used real tents! If your space isn’t conducive to an actual tent, consider an alternative like making a blanket fort or one of these fun forts by AirFort®. You can still partake in many of the usual camping activities real or through pretend play. Check out this cute pretend play New Sprouts Camp Out set.
My kids love flashlight hide and seek. We play at night, and they hide in the house or around the yard. The person that is “it” has a flashlight to find and “tag” the people hiding. This game has expanded beyond family fun to now be a favorite summer night game played with neighborhood friends or during sleepovers. Take a look at these fun LED Lego flashlights.
Another traditional camping activity that we love is making s'mores over a campfire or in a DIY solar oven (we have used a microwave or gas stovetop if indoors). We enjoy buying various types of chocolate, cookies, and marshmallow flavors to create an “ultimate s'more buffet." It’s fun to experiment with different flavors, and it’s even more fun to name your creations. My two favorites have been a Reese’s Cup s'more and a Cookies and Cream s'more creation! There are tons of S'more Buffet ideas on Pinterest.
As a twist on spooky campfire stories, use some Mythical Realms®, Dragons, the Cryptozoology Designer TOOB®, the Fairy Tale Animals TOOB, and any of the fairy figurines to tell spooky shadow stories. It’s fun to add additional props like mini Christmas trees or structures made out of BiOBUDDis or Tileblox. You just need a blank wall or a hanging white sheet to cast shadows upon. Turn out the lights and use a bright flashlight to shine on the figurines so you can use the shadows to act out spooky stories. We’ve also modified this activity to become a fun themed bath time. For a shadow bath, we turned the bathroom lights out, put glow sticks and waterproof tea lights in the bathtub, and I became the light tech that shined flashlights against the bath wall while my boys made shadow stories with their figurines. Themed baths in general are a magical memory maker! Check out the Just Add Water: 12 Months of Themed Baths Blog Post for more ideas.
This activity is generally loved by all, is for toddlers through adults, can be indoors or outdoors, and can be an I Spy type list or a search for prizes! You can draw a map, draw picture clues, write out clues, call out clues, or whatever other means you can think of to lead to the small prizes (like figurines from TOOBS®) that have been hidden. Scavenger hunts can also just involve more of a list of objects to find (you’ll find many options by searching for “scavenger hunt list” on Pinterest). Check out this Scavenger Hunt How To Blog Post for more detailed set up information.
Have your kids put on a puppet show for the family! They can even create a puppet theater out of a cardboard box. For added fun, have your little puppeteers design signs and tickets for their show; all they need is some basic art supplies. This activity will provide hours of fun! For additional puppet play ideas, check out our blog: 5 Invitations to Play with Folkmanis Puppets.
24 Hours Outside
The goal is to be outside for a total of 24 hours over the course of a week(not 24 consecutive hours). Adjust hours based on your family’s time and preferences (It’s like a mini version of the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge). You can take hikes, go to the park, walk around downtown, go to the zoo, play catch, go on a picnic, stargaze, etc.
One of our favorites is a story picnic outside. It’s lovely to go to a favorite outdoor area with a blanket, lunch, a book or two, some animal figurines to match the book characters, and have a delightful picnic and play. Your kids can act out the story with the animals while you read.
Another top notch outdoor activity is an obstacle course. You can find a local ropes/ground course near you, head to a park and time (optional) the kiddos on getting through all of the park equipment obstacles, or make your own obstacle courses at home (with boards, hula hoops, chairs, cones, etc.) Check out these additional fun outdoor game options to add to your obstacle course or just to get your kids out in the sunshine.
Around the World
Take a pretend trip to somewhere around the world! You can showcase the different customs, landmarks, animals, food, music, etc. from each place that you choose. Let each family member choose an area to “visit.” Learn about all of the different aspects, play traditional games, and cook (or order out) food of the selected region. There are many landmark and animal TOOBS® that will help your family learn about different regions. See some examples below:
What can be more fun than a carnival?! Think small school/church carnivals with cute activities, delicious snack concessions, and fun games. You can easily turn your kitchen table into a concession stand. This can simply be a buffet for grazing, or you can get more elaborate and make signs and charge “tickets” won at the carnival “games.” Some easy carnival games are: bean bag toss (Mallows or balled up socks thrown into various containers), ring toss, balloon pop (who can pop the balloon the fastest), spoon race (balancing small objects, like TOOBS® figures, on a spoon while racing), pillow case sack race, Golf Pool Indoor Game, Balance Bopper Jousting, etc. Most kids I know love to get their face painted, and while that may be intimidating to you, Face Paintoos make it easy to transform your kid into a beloved character! There are so many fun options to create an exciting home carnival…or you can get together with neighbors and plan a yard carnival for several families.
There are so many options for a game night, from minute to win it games to board games. Think about what your family enjoys the most, or branch out and try something new. Check out all of the amazing games that Safari Ltd. has added to their product line up! Aside from traditional games, your family can do a Build It Challenge (think Lego Masters) with any type of building material you choose. My family has used everything from recycled items and duct tape to traditional building blocks like BiOBUDDi. You can choose to have a theme (like everyone build a house) or simply have free builds. This challenge can be a competitive activity or can be turned into a “museum gallery tour.”
Tour Your Town
Be a tourist in your own area. Think about the places around you that you would take a someone that was coming for a visit. It’s fun to let everyone in the family contribute ideas and choose a place they’d like to visit during the week. Depending on age, you can let them research themselves, or you can provide a list of ideas to choose from. You can up the playfulness by taking a figurine with you to pose with in pictures (think Flat Stanley). An example would be to take a Gnome or Bernie with you on your adventures.
Your Special Day
Designate a “special day” for each member of the family. On their special day, the designated person gets to set the agenda and menu for the day. If you do not want it to be a complete “Yes Day,” you can give them lists to choose from or set parameters (like setting a budget, only home cooked meals, or only going to places within 20 min. driving distance). Special days are usually done on birthdays in my family, but we like to throw it in as an occasional surprise throughout the year. No matter when they are done, they are always huge hit with the kids!
We hope that you have a magical staycation! We’d love to see some of your activities; please tag us with your fun ideas on social media @safariltd!