If your grandchildren live out of town or out of state, it can be difficult to see them when they’re tied to the schedules of school, sports, and extracurricular activities. Summer break is a great opportunity to have the grandkids out for a visit, even if just for a short-but-sweet long weekend. There’s plenty of fun to be had and memories to be made in your own backyard or within a short drive. With some simple preparation, you can experience all the fun of a faraway trip while staying close to home.
Read on for five tips to make your “staycation” a truly memorable experience for you and your grandchildren.
1. Plan for staycation mode.
One of the best parts of going on vacation is escaping the routines of everyday life, which can be hard to do if you’re still in your everyday surroundings. To keep your staycation on track, start by making an itinerary of all the things you plan to do and when you want to do them. This is also a great way to get your grandkids excited for the day. Hang your day’s itinerary (like the one below) on the fridge so everyone can see what’s planned.
- 8:00am – Flip pancakes with Grandpa
- 10:00am – Take a dunk in the pool
- 2:00pm – Challenge Grandma to a board game
- 5:00pm – Kid’s choice of restaurant for dinner
- 7:00pm – Make your own ice cream sundae
You don’t have to adhere strictly to your schedule, but having a loose plan can help keep your mind in vacation mode while at home.
2. Act like you’re really on vacation.
Imagine spending a vacation at a hotel that requires you to vacuum your own room, dust the lobby, and launder your sheets. Would you feel very relaxed? What about a restaurant that made you cook your meal and do your own dishes. Would you want to eat there again? Staying at a hotel and eating at a restaurant are special experiences because the hard work is done for you, giving you the opportunity to enjoy quality time with your family, worry-free. Your staycation should be special too, so do your best to leave chores for another time.
Have a list of your favorite delivery restaurants on hand, or stock the freezer with pre-made meals so you don’t have to spend all of your time cooking – unless, of course, that’s something you love to do with your grandkids. Try using compostable plates and forks for quick and easy cleanup after meals. If you don’t already have a housecleaning service, you could consider hiring a service for the week so that your chores can be checked off while you enjoy a movie or a board game with your grandkids. Vacations are a unique time to take a break from chores and responsibility and to give your focus to the people you love, so try some new ideas to make your staycation a chore-free time.
3. Be a tourist in your own backyard.
Having the grandkids over for a holiday is a great excuse to explore your local area as if you were a tourist. Take a driving trip around your town and ask the family to help spot new places to visit that you might normally overlook. Take advantage of everything your area has to offer, including game rooms and community events. Make a list of restaurants to try and shops to explore, and keep an eye out for picnic spots you don’t normally visit. A simple afternoon can become an adventure when you pack an easy picnic lunch and wander through the trinket shops on the main street of your town. Just like a real tourist, be sure to take plenty of photos to remember your trip.
4. Learn something new.
Plan to visit a museum or historical site during your staycation. Book a tour and dive into the history, art, and animal life in the area – you may even learn something new.
If there isn’t a nearby museum, zoo, or art gallery, try taking a virtual museum tour on your own computer. When you find that a particular exhibit or subject sparks extra interest, you can finish the virtual visit by letting your grandkids order a book or artifact from a website like Amazon.com, just like you might in the gift shop of the museum.
5. Don’t forget the souvenirs.
You may not be traveling to a new place, but you should still have mementos of your staycation. The purpose of souvenirs is to remind you of the experiences you had while traveling. By making your own souvenirs, you and your grandkids can share a memento of the special time spent together making your crafts. There are lots of simple craft ideas to try, from handprint paintings, to paper dream-catchers, to decorated picture frames that can hold a photo of your staycation adventures.
For older kids, try making a living souvenir by planting a DIY terrarium that they can take home and watch grow. These can be made out of almost any glass container, like mason or jam jars, and can hold a number of different plants like succulents, ferns, or mosses. You may want to include small figurines, like gnomes or fairies, in your terrarium. Make a game out of naming your garden and creating a story about it. Whether it is a tiny magical island or an enchanted forest, it will undoubtedly be filled with special memories.
If you need some inspiration for a craft project, take a look at our Pinterest board (just click below). Or, sit down with your grandchildren and decide upon a DIY project together!
The most important part of any vacation is not the places you go, it’s the people who go along with you. By inviting your grandkids to join you for a staycation this summer, you will have the perfect chance to have fun, explore, and make memories to take with you everywhere you go.