When you can’t take a family vacation Staycations are really the next best thing to do. With some fun staycation ideas for families at home, you can plan the ultimate mini-vacation. You’ll be amazed at what great family memories you can create even if you don’t leave your own zip code.
Whether your saving money or staying home due to the pandemic make the most of your at-home mini-vacation. Mix in some local spots and entertaining things to do at home on your staycation to keep it exciting for your kids.
Follow along and find out what there is to do on a staycation both in your town and at home. I’ll show you how to make it feel like you’re on a mini-vacation with these 40 fun family staycation ideas to use any time of year.
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40 Staycation Ideas for Families in Any Season
If you’re planning a socially distanced staycation due to the pandemic make sure to read the section on Staycation ideas at home. It’s filled with ways to have fun with your kids without leaving your house.
Staycation Ideas in Your Community
Just because you’re on a staycation doesn’t mean you need to spend all your time at home. There are tons of things to do with kids in your local area.
Make it a mini-vacation by exploring your own home town and getting to know your city better.
Visit your local library to check out new books or DVDss for the staycation and attend kids programs. Most libraries have kids programs planned whenever children are out of school and they are usually free.
Check your local library website to find out what’s going on at a library near you.
Local park districts often have movies in the park in the summer or free concerts to attend. This is a great free way to spend an evening with the kids.
Check your local park district website to see what other fun free events they have going on while kids are home.
We love to explore museums with the kids when they are not in school. Take a day to visit a local children’s museum or history museum in your area.
Don’t forget to check out any small town museums showcasing the history of your area. Often these are free and a great way to spend an hour or two out with the kids.
If you are in the Chicago area here are our favorite Chicago Museums to Visit with Kids.
A New Park and Playground
Visit a new playground or park you have never been to. Often in the summer, we try to plan and visit a new park each week. It’s always more exciting than the one you go to all the time. Bring a picnic and make it a full afternoon out.
In the winter month bundle up and go down the slides into the snow. Or find a local park with a hill you can sled down. You’ll be amazed how much fun even on a cold day the kids can have exploring a new playground.
Hike Your Local Forest Preserve or State Park
Go on a hike in your local forest preserve or state park. Check their websites before you go to see what free events they have going on while you’re on your Staycation.
We love to go on guided nature hikes with the kids at our local state park. Get some tips on taking a family hike in my Ultimate Guide to Hiking with Kids.
Be a Local Tourist
Pretend you’re a tourist in your own town and visit the local attractions. Often when we live in a city, we forget how many cool things there are to see in our town. Do a little exploring and go somewhere you have’t visited before.
If you’re in the Chicago area, here are 7 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Chicago with Kids on Staycation.
Local Book Store
Visit a local book store and find some new books to read on vacation. Look at their calendar of events to see when they have story time for kids. This will give you an extra activity to do while you’re there.
Do you have a zoo to visit? What kid doesn’t love seeing new animals and learning all about their habitats? If you don’t have a big zoo, see if there is a local petting zoo you could visit.
Zoos usually host events for Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. So check out what they have going on even in the winter months. We’ve found we can stay warm in the winter by just popping in and out of the buildings looking at animals.
Have you ever gone to a local farm with U Pick produce? It’s a really fun experience to pick your own fruit and you leave with some yummy food.
In summer, you can pick blueberries and strawberries while in the fall there is apple or pumpkin picking. Let the kids experience a day on the farm while picking your own food.
Visit a local waterpark or spray park on a hot day in the summer. Nothing is better than playing in the water on a warm day.
If you need a winter staycation, see if there are any nearby indoor waterparks to visit. We love the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells and find tons of fun Attractions in Wisconsin Dells to do all year long. If you’re in the Midwest this is a quick getaway.
Beach / Community Pool
Another great way to stay cool on a summer staycation is to visit a local beach or community pool. What better way to spend a summer day than swimming!
Do you have a local amusement park in your area? Who needs to go to Disney when you have a fun park near you to ride roller coasters and kiddie rides.
The amusement parks all host holiday events too. So check and see if over Winter Break you can see Holiday light displays at your local Six Flags.
Sledding & Skiing
Over a winter break head to a local snow hill and take the kids sledding. If you live close enough to a Ski Mountain take the kids to learn to ski or snow tubbing. They’ll love the thrill of racing down the snow hill.
In the winter months take the kids to an outside ice skating rink. You could rent skates or I usually buy the kids some used skates to use for the winter from somewhere like Play it Again Sports.
In summer months head to an indoor skating rink and enjoy the break from the heat.
Take a Train Ride
Do you have a local commuter train in your city? Kids love getting a chance to ride a train. It doesn’t even matter that much where you go, it’s just the fun of riding the train.
If you live in a bigger city, ride the train to town and have lunch or visit a local attraction, then ride the train back home.
Try a New Restaurant
Make it feel like you’re on a mini-vacation by trying a new restaurant in the area with your kids. It would be fun to try an ethnic restaurant with a new type of food you have never tried before. You could read together about the country before you go and pretend you’re visiting another country.
The worst thing that can happen is the kids don’t like the food and you pick up McDonald’s on the way home. But at least they get exposed to something new and different and you don’t have to leave the country.
Check out your city’s local events calendar for festivals in the area. See if there is something your family would have fun attending.
If you want to get out of the house on your staycation, book a local hotel for a night. Let the kids swim in the pool and order room service. Your whole family will feel like your away on vacation for the night.
Use our Hotel Hacks to clean your room, baby proof, keep out the noise, tips to eat in your room, and more. Quick ways to make staying at a hotel a vacation for everyone.
Volunteer at Local Charity
Have a day for your family to help others by volunteering together at a local charity. Make sure when you research your local charities to check if they accept kids as volunteers.
We love to volunteer at our local food bank and help at a used book donations place for kids.
Find a local lake or pond to take the kids fishing. It’s a great way for the family to hang out for the day and chat while you wait for the fish to bite.
Go on a Local Ice Cream Tour
Want the kids to be really excited about your staycation? Do a local ice cream tour with the kids. Check out over a couple of days all the local ice cream shops in your area. What could be sweeter than that?
In the winter months test out hot chocolate and cookies at different shops.
See a new movie at your local movie theater. Find the day or time with the discounted rates and head over with the family. Don’t want to leave the house rent a movie or watch something new on Netflix.
Tip: In the summer months or winter breaks, many theaters run kid’s movies that have been out for a while at discounted rates.
Play or Musical
Go to a local play or musical with your kids. It can be a big production or just a local one the kids at your park district are putting on.
In the summer or during spring training, head to a baseball game. It doesn’t have to be a major league game, the local minor league team can be just as exciting for kids.
TIP: Look for family deals that include food or days when the kids can run the bases. Running the bases is always a huge hit with the kids!
Head to your local bowling alley to play. This is a fun activity for both kids and parents to play together.
Tip: If you have some younger kids, make sure to ask for the bumpers to be put up. This will keep the balls out of the gutter.
Staycation Ideas at Home
When you’re not exploring your city on a staycation, keep busy with these fun things to do with kids at home.
Everything from camping in your backyard, relay races, family game contests, and arts and crafts. Find a staycation idea everyone in your family will enjoy.
Get more ideas in 20 Stay at Home Indoor Activities for Kids.
Backyard or Living Room Camping
Plan a camping staycation in your own backyard. Set up the tent, tell some camp stories, and roast some marshmallows. Do everything you would on a real camping trip with all the convenience of home.
In the winter months throw up a tent in your living room and roast marshmallows in your fireplace. Kids will love camping out in the house.
Board Game or Minute to Win it Marathon
Have a family Board game or Minute to Win It competition. Keep it exciting by buying one new board game to play and use a few you already own. If your kids are a little bit older and like competition, make it a family challenge.
Do a bunch of small Minute To Win It type games in a row. Create a chart with each family member’s name and see who wins the most games. You could even have a small prize for the winner.
Find a new fun recipe the kids want to make and bake or cook together. Create a great new dessert or snack they will love to try after working so hard to make it. The fun and memorable part is creating this new recipe with you.
Indoor Laser Maze
Create a Hallway Laser Maze for the kids to climb through. All you need is streamers and tape to make this fun indoor obstacle course.
Relay Race or Obstacle Course
Create a relay race or obstacle course in your own back yard. Use things you have in your garage for the obstacles such as old boxes, cones, a piece of wood to balance on, or swing set. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something the kids can run around and laugh.
Have them get involved coloring old paper towel rolls for the relay sticks or helping to figure out how the obstacle course should run. When we do this, we usually invite over some neighbor kids to join in on the fun.
Get more ideas in Easy DIY Outdoor Games with Dollar Tree Items
Arts and Crafts
Have an afternoon of creating arts and crafts. If it’s something messy like painting, have them do it outside or line a table with newspaper indoors. Get ideas on our Kids Crafts Pinterest Page.
A fun at home craft is making Coffee Filter Butterflies. All you need is a few coffee filters, markers, and pipe cleaners to make these creative butterflies..
Indoors Scavenger Hunt
Create a fun scavenger hunt in the backyard or around the house. A scavenger hunt can be as simple as giving the kids a list of things to find around the house or in your backyard.
If you want more of a challenge, you could hide a few things and give them clues on how to find the items. I find giving some type of list makes it easier and they can do it on their own.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Want those difficult tweens and teens to go on a walk with you? Use this fun Tween Scavenger Hunt made just for them.
Build a Fort
Do you have fond memories of building forts as a kid, too? Use blankets and furniture to create your own little getaway. Let your kids use their imagination and create their own cool fort.
Bonus, tell them it’s their reading nook while they’re out of school. It’s so much more exciting to read in the fort you built.
Paper Airplane Race
This includes two parts of fun for the family. First, you need to create your super fast airplane and color it. Next, line up and race your airplanes. See who in your family can make the fastest plane.
If you need some help creating your paper airplanes, here is a great kit. It comes with easy to fold planes with a bunch of different designs to make it a little more exciting than just folding your paper at home.
Paper Airplane Targets
Aim and throw your paper airplanes through a target made of streamers. Have a family contest to see who can get the most paper airplanes through the opening.
Water Gun Targets
Kids love to play with water guns on warm sunny days. Creating a target is a great way to make a game out of it. You can easily create DIY Targets with what you have around your house.
It can be anything lightweight such as empty pop cans, pringles can, or cut up a pool noodle from the dollar store. Make different heights for the targets by placing them on a ladder or boxes.
In the winter months use your nerf guns to make indoor nerf targets.
Do a family science experiment together. It’s a great way for the kids to see something cool and learn a little science while they’re not in school. Pair it with a visit to the Science Museum and you have a perfect day out.
One of our favorites is making a Volcano at Home. It’s really easy and you only need a few ingredients to make it.
Need more ideas? Get the Outdoor Science Lab book to learn how to do more science experiments for kids.
Lego 10 Minute Challenge
We love to do a Lego challenge at our house. It’s perfect for those times the kids are bored and need something to do.
There is no preparation needed, just box up a bunch of random Lego pieces you have around the house and give the kids 10 minutes (or however long you want) to build. You will be amazed at the cool creations your kids come up with!
Teach the kids to be an entrepreneur by making their own lemonade stand. This is an entertaining way to take up an afternoon with the kids.
They will need to color a big sign, set up a table, make the lemonade, and then help customers. The kids will have fun and learn what it takes to make a business run.
If your staycation is in the winter months or on a rainy day, plan a movie marathon with the kids. Let everyone pick out one movie they want to watch. Order some pizza, pop some popcorn, and settle in for a relaxing day.
Want to get everyone up and moving? Have a fun Dance Party! Crank up the tunes and dance around laughing and having fun.
While on staycation, get some work done in your garden while having fun with the kids. Let them plant some seeds, pull weeds and look for worms and bugs. Enjoy being outside as a family while getting your yard work done.
Are you a family that loves to play sports? Have a family sports tournament. Choose a few sports they like and create short games out of them, such as a basketball shooting contest, catching contest for baseball, sprinting contests for track, and most soccer goals made. Anything that the kids love to play can be turned into mini competitions.
If you want something other than sports, here are a few outdoor games our family really enjoys playing. All four will keep both kids and adults busy for hours. Perfect games for kids parties and barbecues, too.
Do you have a budding artist? Break out the sidewalk chalk and let the kids color the driveway. We love to do Sidewalk Shadow Art on the driveway or on paper. It’s a fun way to do art outside.
More Fun Things to Do at Home
Here are a few more fun ways to spend time at home with your kids. Find tons of ideas on our Kids Activity Page.
I hope out of this list of 40 Staycation ideas for families, you found a few fun things to do with your kids. All you need are a couple of new kid’s activities to keep your time at home exciting.
A staycation can be so much fun you won’t even miss out on taking a real vacation this year. Or at least you’ll still make some great family memories together. So get out and explore your home town and plan some fun games at home with the kids.
Did you enjoy this article? At Happy Mom Hacks, we are always striving to find ways to make a mom’s life easier with activities for kids, fun family travel destinations, and easy meal ideas.
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