I hope you are staying safe and staying at home during this difficult time. Being stuck at home with young children can be tough. My family has been in quarantine at our home in Malibu for almost two months. (The world feels so crazy right now!) At first, it was fairly easy to keep my daughter, Sadie (almost 3), occupied but now after nearly eight weeks of not leaving our house, she is getting pretty antsy.
Sadie has been to seven countries already and loves to travel and keeps asking… “When can we go to Jamaica again? When can we go back to Aspen to ski? When can we go back to Hawaii?” So I’ve had to get creative and come up with different ways to travel from home. I know there are a lot of articles like this circulating already but hopefully, there are a few ideas on my list you haven’t seen yet or thought of. Here are my suggestions for eight ways to have a family staycation at home.
1) HAVE A PICNIC
My family loves picnics. We have them in our backyard every week (weather permitting) and this is an easy way to make mealtime fun and help you feel like you’re on a mini-vacation. If you have a yard or patio it’s obviously ideal to do a picnic outside in the sunshine, but if you don’t have an outdoor space you can have your picnic on the floor in your living room.
All you need to set up a fun picnic is a blanket, some flowers, or whatever you can find to add a special touch (let your kids help decorate), and of course some yummy food and drinks. Snacking foods are obviously best for picnics. You can easily put chips, pretzels, fruit, veggie sticks, hummus, yogurt dip, etc in bowls and place them out on the blanket. Sandwiches or wraps are perfect for a simple “main course,” and let’s not forget the wine!
2) PLAN A FAMILY GETAWAY
There is no better time than right now to plan your family’s dream getaway! Planning a family vacation is really fun for kids. Let them get involved with choosing where your next trip will be and what you’ll do while you’re there. I created this list of 30 Luxury Eco Hotels To Stay At Before You Die which is a great place to start your research. You can show your kids photos and YouTube videos of different destinations so they can give input on where they most want to go next.
Right now our top family dream vacations (chosen by Sadie) are Kenya to stay at the Giraffe Manor (my friends Misha and Kiersten ‘The Blonde Abroad’ pictured below, said it was magical), The Exumas to swim with the pigs at Pig Beach, Aruba to visit Flamingo Beach and see the Iguanas, and back to London (where we use to live), to visit the peacocks at Holland Park.
3) WATCH VACATION MOVIES
Vacation movies are one of the best ways your family can “go on vacation” without leaving your couch. Throw on some comfy clothes, grab some popcorn (and a glass of wine for mom!), and get ready to go on a virtual vacation.
A few fun kids movies that will make your whole family feel like they are on vacation are Disney’s Aladin (fictional Arabian city of Agrabah), Madagascar (an island country in the Indian Ocean), Lion King Live (Africa), Mulan (China), Lilo & Stitch (Hawaii), Frozen II (Norway), Up (South America), Ratatouille (Paris), Moana (Polynesian Islands of Hawaii, Tonga and Tahiti), Rio (Brazil), Finding Nemo (Australia), and Coco (Mexico).
4) CREATE A SPECIAL SPACE
You can transform a space in your living room, patio, or yard into something new and exciting. This is a great way to have a family staycation that is fun for young children. Sadie loves the beach and she loves going to playspace in Los Angeles called Under the Sea. Since we can’t go right now I decided why not bring “under the sea” to our house? If you can’t go on a beach vacation why not create a special beach staycation area at home?
We have a lookout deck that is a bit funky and we weren’t using so I turned it into an ocean play area for Sadie. I ordered a cheap plastic ocean backdrop on Amazon and a few other ocean-themed decorations and toys. She already had some Little Mermaid toys so I brought this up to the play area too. Sadie’s excitement and the hours she spent enjoying her new play area was well worth all the effort. You can also create a special space in your living room – it’s just about adding decorations and toys to make it feel different, fun, and new.
5) SET UP A FUN BUBBLE BATH
While you’re stuck at home what a great opportunity to turn your bathtub into a relaxing and fun vacation escape! Bubbles alone make bathtime fun but recently we tried these organic bath bombs and Sadie loves them. They color the water and make it smell good and they have a special surprise inside. You can also add some flower petals to make your bath extra special. I also like to make special drinks for us to take in the bath – sparkling water with a splash of juice. The special drink helps you feel like you are on vacation, and moms, there is no shame in spiking your drink!
6) READ BOOKS THAT INSPIRE ADVENTURE
Reading books to your children that inspire adventure is a fun and easy way to have a family staycation at home. Some great children’s books that will inspire wanderlust and teach your kids about the world are Emma’s Turtle (China, India, Africa), Strega Nona (Italy), Madeline (France), A Bear Called Paddington (London), Wabi Sabi (Japan), The Little Prince (Saharah Desert), Journey to Jo’Burg (South Africa), Moonlight on the Magic Flute (Vienna), and Go Go Sadie (Costa Rica).
7) GO CAMPING IN YOUR YARD OR LIVING ROOM
There is something about sleeping outside under the stars that will get most children very excited. If you have a yard you can set up a tent and go camping in your backyard. If you don’t have a yard you can camp in your living room. Just pull out your sleeping bags (or blankets) and set up a camping area. The trick is to try to make it seem like you’re really camping so throw on a nature scene if you have a TV in the room, and use your imagination to do all the things you would do if you were really camping. We did this with Sadie and she loved it!
8) DINNER AROUND THE WORLD
Making dinners inspired by destinations from around the world is a fun and easy way to have a family staycation at home. Tell your kids in advance what country you will be visiting that night. Talk to them about the destination, tell them what kind of food you will be eating, and let them help prepare the meal.
We have done Mexico and Greece thus far and Sadie was very excited. “Destination Dinners” as we are calling them feel like a vacation meal if you add decorations – candles, flowers, flags – anything to signal that the dinner is special. If you have an outdoor space try to eat outside and don’t forget to put on some music. Dressing up for dinner is also fun and a good excuse to get out of sweats (although clearly, as you can see from the photo, I did not make it out of my workout clothes this night).
FAMILY STAYCATION BLISS
I know being stuck at home with children can be stressful and exhausting but I hope these suggestions will help you enjoy your family time as much as you can. You don’t have to get on a plane to have a great vacation. You can have a fun family staycation right at your house. All it takes is imagination and a little effort. Kids don’t care about fancy, they just want to have fun with you, and nothing is more fun than using your imagination, together. Enjoy!
Do you have any at-home staycation ideas to add to this list? Please share your tips or questions in the comments below!
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