With spring break looming in the not-so-distant future, family staycation ideas are top of mind for many parents. While many of us (myself included) would love to spend a week sipping cocktails on a beach in the Caribbean while our children swim in the ocean, traveling isn’t always an option. Work commitments, sickness, and lack of funds can really put a damper on school holidays, but with a little creativity, you can still get a little R&R while spending quality time with your family. If you’re looking for budget-friendly family staycation ideas, we’ve got you covered!
How to Plan a Family Staycation
Before embarking on a family staycation, it’s important that you do a little prep work ahead of time. While you may be craving a break from schedules and routines, a little upfront planning can make a world of difference in ensuring you get the most out of your time at home together. Here are 5 tips to help!
1. CREATE A DAILY ROUTINE
As tempting as it is to throw our schedules out the window the moment school lets out for the summer, spring, or winter breaks, it’s important to remember that kids thrive on consistency and predictability. Create a rough routine of how you’d like your days to unfold so that you have some sort of structure in place, allowing for flexibility to spend more time on activities you and your little ones are enjoying without feeling rushed.
2. MAKE A BUCKET LIST
If you find it difficult to keep your kids entertained when they aren’t in school and you want to be more intentional with your time together, consider creating a bucket list so you always have ideas to draw from. I suggest creating these well in advance, allowing you and your kids to add ideas over time as they pop into your head. I also recommend creating 2 bucket lists – one filled with places you’d like to go, and another with projects and activities you’l like to do at home. See below for 21 budget-friendly family staycation ideas to inspire you!
3. DIVIDE YOUR DAY INTO BLOCKS OF TIME
If you’re trying to juggle work, household chores, and other responsibilities while your children are at home over the holidays, time-blocking will be a lifesaver to you! While I’m not a fan of having strict schedules in place during school holidays, I think it’s really important to have a plan of action each day. Instead of scheduling every single hour of your staycation, organize your day into chunks to ensure everything gets done and everyone is happy. For example, you may reserve your mornings for household chores and running errands, enforce an hour of quiet time after lunch, schedule fun activities for the afternoon, and then organize independent activities for your kids while you get dinner organized.
4. PRIORITIZE ONE-ON-ONE TIME
If you’re looking for family staycation ideas, one important but often overlooked parenting tip is to spend quality time with your child. I’m not talking about watching TV, going to the grocery store, or spending time with other families at the park. I’m talking about distraction-free, one-on-one time. I was first given this advice when my daughter entered the Terrible Twos, and every single time I notice a spike in poor behaviors, the first thing I do is evaluate how much solid one-on-one time we are spending together. There are so many simple ways you can squeeze quality time into your day, and we have 75 ideas to inspire you right here!
5. ENFORCE QUIET TIME
No matter how old my daughter gets, I find our household runs smoother when we enforce regular quiet time so we can rest and recharge. I find this especially important during school holidays when we’re more active than usual. I usually let my daughter read or play quietly in her room, and sometimes allow her time on her iPad as a reward for exceptional behavior, and use this time to empty my inbox, get caught up with work, or do something to help myself relax and unwind.
21 Budget-Friendly Family Staycation Ideas
There are tons of great family staycation ideas that will keep you and your little ones busy during school holidays, and I hope the ones we’ve include below inspire you! A fun idea is to create a list of ideas that interest you and your kids ahead of time, and to write each one on a popsicle stick. Once you have a collection of ideas, put them into a jar, and then you can let your kids select a popsicle stick each morning of your staycation. It’s a fun way to add a bit of mystery to your day!
- Visit local attractions in your city
- Book a night in a hotel together, and order room service and watch movies
- Organize a campout in your backyard or living room
- Build a fort and watch movies and/or read books together inside
- Take a family-friendly class together
- Cook a meal, get dressed up, and turn your dining room into fine dining restaurant
- Turn your kitchen into a laboratory and enjoy a few science experiments
- Organize an indoor or outdoor scavenger hunt
- Challenge everyone in your family to complete one act of kindness each day
- Stay in your PJs and enjoy a day-long movie marathon
- Volunteer within your community for a day
- Organize a neighborhood party or potluck
- Go swimming at your local pool
- Try some DIY spa treatments together
- Have a bake-off!
- Undertake a home project together
- Make a family music video!
- Organize an afternoon of old-school backyard games
- Go and see a live show or performance
- Do something crafty, like jewelry making or rock painting, or try some of these Dollar Store crafts
- Organize a family game night
The internet is full of all sorts of family staycation ideas, and with a little planning and preparation, you can structure your holiday such that you’re able to enjoy time with your children while still grabbing a bit of R&R on your own. Make sure to add a little structure to your days, prioritize one-on-one time with each of your kids, enforce quiet time, and have a collection of outings and activities to draw from each day so you and your children don’t get bored!