Three Great Staycation Ideas (page 2)

Three Great Staycation Ideas

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Updated on May 21, 2010

Staycation Three: A Community Staycation

This is the perfect staycation if you have like-minded friends and neighbors.

Suggested Materials:

  • Pillowcases or burlap sacks
  • Beanbags and frisbees
  • Water and balloons
  • Prizes, such as dollar store and dime store toys. (bouncy balls, wind-up toys, plastic animals…)
  • Basketball, volleyball, soccer ball, tennis ball…
  • Wiffle balls and bats
  • Hula hoops
  • Kiddie pool and apples
  • Picnic lunches and blankets
  • Bar-be-que and potluck foods.

Choose a week that is convenient for all families who wish to participate. Plan to meet each day either at a local park or families may take turns hosting in their backyards.


Monday is “Race Day.” Meet in the late morning (9 or 10 a.m.). Organize a series of races for the kids, including a wheelbarrow race, a sack race, and a relay race. Keep it low-key so the focus remains on having fun by offering prizes that reward more than just the winner, such as:

  • funniest bloopers
  • best teamwork
  • most enthusiastic
  • most innovative
  • creative problem solving
  • most stylized
Have enough small prizes that everybody wins for something. 

When everyone has raced all they can, allow some time for free play before spreading out blankets end enjoying picnic lunches that are special and different from weekly school-lunch fare. 

  • Watermelon slices
  • Cut up vegetables, baby carrots, and a big bottle of ranch dressing
  • Crackers and cheese slices
  • Cold pasta salad

For an easy to make cold pasta salad, boil macaroni elbows and drain. Toss cooked macaroni in a large bowl with chopped up cucumbers, chopped up tomatoes, Italian salad dressing and salt and pepper to taste. 


Tuesday is “Ball Day.” If your local park has a basketball court or volleyball net, you can plan to play basketball or volleyball. Many children enjoy kicking a soccer ball around together and this is easy to do on any grass field.

Another option is to play kickball or dodge ball. A very fun game is to give each child either a tennis racket and tennis ball (or ping pong paddle and ping pong ball). The child tosses the ball in the air and bounces it on the racket, turning the racket over between each bounce. Whoever does this for the longest time wins. 

Younger children will prefer a simple game of Catch or a bean bag toss. Set up a series of upside down frisbees as bean bag targets, or make them out of cardboard. Bean bags are easy and inexpensive to make. First, purchase dried beans at the grocery store. Take fabric remnants and stitch them into squares, leaving the fourth side open. Fill with beans. Stitch fourth side closed. 

When people are finished playing ball games, it is time to spread out the blankets for another picnic lunch. Make it different from the day before by serving “Ball Salad”. To prepare Ball Salad, use a melon baller to cut spheres out of watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melons. For a variation on the pasta salad, use rotini pasta tossed with chopped up cherry tomatoes, chopped up mozzarella cheese, a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. If your crew likes olives, throw some black olives in this salad. A little chopped up green onion is a nice touch. 


Wednesday is “Triathlon Day.” Whichever family is hosting this day sets up hula hoops, a small kiddie pool with water and apples, and a wiffle ball and bat. Consider adding another bean bag toss, a skateboard, a trampoline (if you have one). The key is to set up a series of goals for each child as he or she goes through the course.

  1. Keep hula hoop up for a dozen turns
  2. Hit wiffle ball into a cardboard box “target”
  3. Ride skateboard to kiddie pool
  4. Bob for an apple.

The games are followed, of course, by picnic lunches. For variety, offer potato salad. Chop up red potatoes and boil in salt water until soft, drain and allow to cool. Toss in large bowl with 3 parts mayonnaise to 1 part red wine vinegar. Add a little Dijon mustard, dill, celery salt, and salt and pepper to taste.


Thursday is “Free Play Day.” Make the different activities from the first few days available and allow the kids to play together on games they would like to repeat.

For lunch, bring fruits and vegetables as always. Offer cold cuts and slices of bread for sandwiches. 


Hopefully, Friday will be a hot, sunny day. On Friday it is best to meet after lunch for a water balloon toss or other water games. Friday is “Water Day.” Let the younger children play in the kiddie pool with adult supervision. Another adult must supervise the older children in their water games.

Older children may toss water balloons back and forth to see how long they can keep the balloon going before it pops. 

Set up a sprinkler attached to a hose and let the kids play in it.  

It feels wonderful and gives everyone closure when Water Day ends with a potluck dinner and bar-be-que. Coordinate with families who will bring salads, desserts, beverages, etc. One or two families with bar-be-ques can cook hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, or vegetarian patties. 

Your children will feel like they went to camp with their friends and neighbors for a week. A community staycation may become an annual summer tradition in your circle of friends.

As you go about planning and organizing these and any other staycations for your family, keep a few tips and pieces of good advice in mind: 
  • Plan a start date and an end date—usually about a week—and maintain the theme all week long.
  • Take pictures or videos, just as you would for a vacation. Preserve the memories of your family having fun together.
  • Plan something theme related each and every day of the staycation.
  • Just as you would on vacation, allow some down-time and time for free play for your children.
  • Most important, have fun with your family.


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