Staycation Ideas for Babies and Toddlers
Are you dreaming of a family vacation without all of the planning, packing and stressing? Why not consider a staycation in your own hometown or even your own backyard. Staycations allow you to enjoy quality family time doing activities that generally require very little preparation and are often much more budget-friendly on your bank account than a typical vacation. All it takes is a simple day off!
The next time you have the travel bug but don’t want the headache of a big holiday, consider these nine staycation ideas that are perfect for babies and toddlers.
1. Pitch a tent and play the day away.
This activity can be as adventurous or as simple as you want it to be, depending on the age of your kiddos. For a bit more adventure with the bigger kids, grab your camping gear, flashlights and sleeping bags and pitch a tent in your backyard. Enjoy typical camping activities such as roasting S’mores and staring at the stars. If sleeping under the stars isn’t your thing, build a fort or a tent in your own living room or playroom using blankets and sheets. Let the little ones pretend they are on an adventure in the wilderness, without even leaving the cozy confines of your home.
2. Make it a movie marathon day.
Look no further than your own living room to enjoy a “Netflix and Chill” day with the kids. Let your little ones pick their favorite shows or movies (cue Frozen or The Lion King for the millionth time!), pop some popcorn and cuddle up with the kiddos for a relaxing movie extravaganza. You really can make an entire day of it!
3. Discover bugs and crawly things
There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your little one’s eyes wide with wonder and amazement. Grab your hats, magnifying glasses, tweezers and binoculars to fully immerse yourself in the experience. This is a fantastic opportunity to really play the part. Dress your little ones up in safari clothing or an outdoorsman vest to get them ultra excited. Then head outside to discover bugs and crawly things, plants and flowers, and rocks and butterflies. You can easily do this right in your own back yard or head to a nearby recreation area if your green space is limited. You’ll be amazed at what your kids find and inquisitively ask questions about.
4. Set up an arts and crafts station at home.
A great staycation activity that can take place in your own home is setting up a variety of arts and crafts for your little ones. Simplicity is the key here, especially for the younger ones. Activities such as finger painting, coloring, gluing and pasting, as well as creating shapes with clay or Play-doh, require very little effort but yield great rewards! If you’re feeling especially crafty, check out Pinterest for some instagram-worthy crafting ideas for little ones. Bonus: These activities are also great for fine motor skills!
5. Be a tourist in your own town.
Chances are, there are a ton of tourist destinations or landmarks in your own hometown that you’ve never visited, or that your children have never seen. Think museums, zoos, aquariums and parks for your next staycation. More likely than not you will know them off the top of your head, however a quick google search of your town’s local tourism website should provide you with all the information you need. Hop in the car and make a day out of it, checking off local landmarks as you go. Aim to put a kid-friendly spin on it by visiting places that have interactive activities for your young ones so that they don’t lose interest.
6. Head to the library.
This is one staycation that will literally cost you next to nothing and can keep you occupied for the better part of a day. Head to your local library and read with your kiddos or head to an interactive educational station within the library itself. Check the library’s website beforehand and schedule your outing around story time to maximize the experience. Many libraries also offer free classes such as toddler music time and Lego building sessions, as well as arts and crafts. While you are there ask about the history of the library for an added learning experience.
7. Play in the water.
Whether you head to a local beach or lake, or even your local swimming pool, water activities are always a good warm weather staycation idea. Sandy beaches evoke the vacation vibe, and little ones love building sand castles and splashing around in the open waters. Visit a pool that has kid-friendly water slides or even check out a splash pad. You don’t need to travel far to feel like you are on a beach vacation! Don’t forget to pack the life jackets!
8. Pack a picnic lunch.
No staycation would be complete without a picnic lunch. This simple and fun activity can be added on to almost all of our suggestions or be a lengthy activity all on its own. Although picnics are already on par for non-staycation activities, think about wandering a bit farther to explore a park or place to eat that you haven’t visited before. Pack a few balls or outdoor games to stay entertained all afternoon.
9. Check into a local hotel.
You don’t need to stay at some fancy pants 5-star hotel in order to have a good time with the kids. However, the amenities will play an important role in an enjoyable stay. Try to book a hotel with a pool so that the kids can enjoy some swim time. Some hotels also offer kid’s clubs and activities to keep them entertained. You might even find hotels where kids eat for free! If you book in advance you can often find good deals on hotel rates. Check sites like Groupon, or if you leave the booking until the last minute, check out HotelTonight. It’s a site that offers discount prices on last minute hotel reservations.
A staycation not only takes the hassle out of “vacationing”, but you will also create fantastic family memories that both you and your kids will cherish for years to come!
Jennifer O’Neill is an Independent Quality Provider with BabyQuip, helping families travel lighter and happier. She is a mother of two boys and enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends and of course, traveling.