With all of today’s technology, kids today are often texting, posting and pinning during their downtime at school, although back in my day, we were likely daydreaming about our upcoming summer vacation. While the latter is probably still true for today’s youngsters, the cost of all these handheld devices, internet, cable and satellite TV connections, it doesn’t leave a whole lot in the budget for our summer travel plans.
This doesn’t mean we can’t have a perfectly good “staycation” at home for a fraction of the cost of a traditional vacation. Here are some great ideas for some relaxing family time in the comfort of our own home or backyard.
Take a Trip Without Leaving Home
Why not have a travelling adventure without leaving the house on our big TV screen? How about a movie night or weekend of watching family-friendly, travel-based adventure movies like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or Around the World in 80 Days? These classic films thrust their heroes into global dilemmas that take us around the world with them.
There’s also National Geographic gems that explore wildlife and cultures from the other side of the earth. Titles like March of the Penguins, Mysteries of Egypt and The Way Back combine history, adventure, drama, intrigue and education while keeping us entertained at the same time. Or ditch the travel theme altogether and let each member of the family pick out their favorites. Don’t forget the popcorn and take time after the credits roll to talk about the movie as a family.
Not the popular restaurant chain or the wilderness area in the land down under, but rather the adventures we can find in our own backyard. Camping has long been an affordable option for family fun and we can have the same type of excursion on our own property. We can experience similar experiences, like stargazing, roasting weenies over an open fire (use the barbeque or inexpensive outdoor firepit), singing and storytelling around the campfire, without travelling.
For those living in an apartment environment, we can still build a fort in the living room, sleep on the floor in our camping bags, use the fireplace to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. To make the adventure as real as possible, tell the kids to ditch their technology during the event.
While many kids will have nothing but time on their hands over the summer break, why not plant a small garden? There are many newer methods of planting and harvesting some flora and fauna in smaller spaces. The kids can be responsible for initial planting, daily watering, weeding, upkeep and they can literally watch the fruits of their labor come to life.
Spend a Little and Get a Lot
Consider making some small purchases, like the outdoor fire pit mentioned previously, for some extra indoor or outdoor fun. Consider a small investment in something like a:
- Hammock or outdoor swing
- Small outdoor pool
- Some trinkets and treasures for a scavenger hunt
- Pack of water balloons and some squirt guns for a good old-fashioned water fight
Consider taking on a home improvement project, paint the kids room their favorite color, build that tree house, fort or playhouse they’ve always dreamed about. This time together will not only improve your home, it will also promote special bonding time with the kids.
Even though we might be short on money, it doesn’t mean our summer vacation can’t be full of fun. With a little planning, some preparation and forethought, we can all have some family fun without breaking the bank and still stay on budget.