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Save Money on a Costly Vacation by Treating the Family to an Exciting Staycation!

With these 3 ideas for making the most of time spent on the home front, parents and kids will get to enjoy bonding and memory making without breaking the bank

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Whether your family is choosing a staycation because of extracurricular commitments, work, or budget considerations, time spent at home can be just as rewarding and full of memories as time and money spent on traveling. With the growing number of costly extra-curricular activities and their time commitments, sometimes a big trip simply isn’t the right fit. No traveling doesn’t mean that everyone needs to spend a break from school watching movies (unless it’s a Daily Pick activity- see below) and wishing for some excitement. These 3 staycation ideas can be enjoyed on a budget with little to no travel time involved.

Daily Pick Jars - This is a fun way to get the whole family involved, even if a family member can’t be present all day due to work or other activities. Create multiple jars for 3-4 ways to spend the day. In the past, my family created an activity jar, dinner jar, and craft jar. You could also make jars for music choice, game, baking, etc. Each family member gets slips of paper to record one choice for each jar. For a daily activity, Mom might pick go to the park, Dad may choose to head to a newly released movie, Annie may select a trip to the zoo, Nate may pick a pajama fort movie day, etc. These 25 ideas from Living Well Spending Less offer some great additional activities for the choosing. The dinner jar may get filled with slips stating spaghetti, taco night, chicken casserole, etc. For younger kids, it may be easier for parents to fill out all the slips, but the choosing really makes the fun! Selections can be made the night before (probably easier for planning) or the morning of a Pick Jar day. Whichever slips get pulled seal the events of the day. The Daily Pick Jar will definitely add some fun and adventure to the staycation agenda.

Get Gardening - Whether you head outside to plant a new garden or prepare an existing one for the new season, the time outside and working in nature will be well spent. Grab some funny hats, don the gardening gloves, and make some memories. Let your kids take the lead on plant choices. If it’s too early do the actual planting, simply prepare the space and make selections for how to fill it when the time to plant arrives. With these gardening tips and crop suggestions from Earth Easy, kids will be well on their way to a great connection with nature and understanding how food is grown. The best part is that you’ll have a blossoming reminder of quality family time to be enjoyed in the upcoming months.

Scavenger Hunts - Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? These can take place at home, a park, the mall, or any other favorite place. The “hunters” can work on teams or individually to find items or complete tasks. For hunts happening around town, Coolest Parties shares some great clue ideas for items to gather or photo opportunities. A trip to the mall can lead to some fun adventures with a list of must-get photos, like a red scarf, a video game with a robot on the cover, an elevator button pad, a stuffed iguana, etc. If you’re looking to stay closer to home, placing clued envelopes around the house that lead to a big reveal or prize can also be fun. These at-home clue ideas from Real Treasure Hunts will have your kids scrambling to find the next envelope! Scavenger hunting can be fun to complete with the whole family or a group of friends. For the cost of a few envelopes, a drink at the mall, and/or an ending prize, this can be a great memory maker with a tiny budget.

If you’re looking for a way to avoid the travel mantra of Are we there yet?, then a family staycation is the right choice. When we really delve into our communities and our imaginations, some lasting family memories can be made. It’s time to fill out those clue cards, get digging, and make the best picks for an exciting staycation that won’t disappoint.

If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.

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