It’s summer, school is out, and it’s time to start thinking about vacations. However, if you’re a new mom like me the thought of lugging car seats and diaper bags on a plane sounds like a nightmare. I don’t even want to think about driving for hours with small children. Still, I don’t want to miss out on summer vacations and making lasting memories with my family. I would like for my kids to use these moments as the frame for the kind of things they’ll do with their own families someday. A staycation is the perfect answer. A staycation is a vacation where you explore your hometown or neighborhood in a way you never thought to before. So, it’s a chance to get to see parts of my city that I had never thought to explore and I can treat my family to a day of fun without all the extra travel expenses. Here are the top four staycations my family and I will try this year.
It’s so simple I almost forgot about the library as a day destination. My kids are at that magical age where reading books are just as fun as watching a 30-minute TV show and their imagination is a thing of awe. Getting the kids to equate summer fun with a perfect time to get lost in a good book is a great habit to foster early.
It’s fun for them to check out books on their own, attend story time, and explore the huge, colorful reference books with mom’s help. But libraries are also fun to visit year ‘round! My favorite time to witness their innocence is during the holidays. They get so excited when we write letters to Santa at Christmas time and with the help of a website that sends letters from Santa, I can ensure they keep that magic.
The library has a cozy and vibrant children’s area and it’s a joy to watch the small bright eyes of my children light up when they’ve found an interesting book with lots of pictures. I get to spend hours with them knowing that I am helping to foster their love of reading.
Outdoor Movies and Concerts
Going to local events and concerts helps you and your family to connect with your community. There’s always plenty of people to converse with while your children play together. I have met quite a few new friends this way and so have my kids. It also provides a space to spend time outdoors in the fresh air. Check the local listings in your city newspaper for times and locations of events that are family friendly going on in your community.
Camping in the backyard is so much fun, especially with young children. There’s the convenience factor of having all your supplies close at hand and if the kids get scared you can quickly whisk them back to the security of their own bed. You really don’t have to spend the night outside if you don’t want to but it does get your child acclimated to sleeping outdoors should you and your family decide to go camping in a national park sometime. It’s also a great opportunity to treat your own backyard like a nature center. You can show your child all the incredible creatures that live among us every day. Set up some games and activities you can enjoy outdoors to help keep your child entertained all day. My kids love to pretend we are explorers in the jungle. Lions, tigers, and bears. Oh, my! In the evening, fire up the grill for dinner and end the meal with s’mores. If backyard camping is still too much for your toddler, try building a fort in the living room or setting up the tent indoors.
Visit the museum
The children’s museum allows your child to explore their world in so many different ways. Now that you’re on staycation, allow your child to play at the museum until their heart’s content. Take them around to spend time at each interactive station and exhibit; if you can get them to walk away from one they’ve become attached to. Don’t be afraid to tap into your inner child and play with some of the exhibits as well. If the museum will allow it, bring snacks and drinks so that you won’t have to leave the facility for them. You should also bring hand sanitizer just in case someone else’s little one isn’t feeling too well.
Staycations are time savers, money savers, and a fantastic way for the family to spend quality time together. You’ll be surprised at all the things you never knew your city had to offer, even if you’ve lived there for years. It’s amazing what looking at your city through the eyes of a child can do for your perception of it. So get out and explore your surroundings. Try a new restaurant you hadn’t tried before or take a short journey into a cute neighborhood you never stopped to really look at. Have a wonderful staycation and may you make memories that will last a lifetime.