Budget Backyard Family Vacations

When travel and lodging are cost prohibitive, you can still have a vacation right at home. Yes, in your own backyard. Many of us live within reasonable distance to museums, campgrounds, historic sites, and beautiful state parks. You might be surprised at what you find in your own local area.

Do some research in your area to find free or low cost activities and sites to visit. Schedule something for each day of the week, even if it’s just a park visit for a picnic. Some areas have local public beaches. Plan an outing at a local public beach. Visit historical sites. Many of these are free, educational, and fun for parents and kids.

You can even plan activities at home just as if you were at an exotic vacation spot. Have a different theme for each day. For example:

1. Beach day – sun tanning, volley ball, make some fancy icy drinks to sip on in the sun, have a picnic.

2. Camp day – stay in a tent or sleeping bags under the stars, build a little fire if allowed in your area, roast marshmallows, make smores, sing campfire songs.

3. Have a backyard fair – create booths with games like ring toss or balloon popping to win little prizes.

4. Colonial day – dress, and live in another era!. This is great fun. I thought of this one purely by accident when the electricity went out one day. The kids expressed how “neat’ it was to live like they did in the “old days.” No lighting except candles and lanterns, no T.V. or radio, no video games or computer. Sounds boring, but believe it or not, they had fun coming up with ideas to keep occupied. A good teaching tool too! Shhhhhhhh….. don’t tell the kids.

5. Cultural Day – Live, celebrate, dress, and eat as you learn about different cultures. Some examples might include an Irish, Native American, or Spanish Day. Another great learning experience. Try to include some ethnic games to make it even more fun and interesting.

These “theme days” at home will take some imagination and a little work, but will be loads of fun for everyone. Half the fun will be in the creation, so let everyone pitch in. With a little imagination and creativity you can have a wonderful vacation right in your own backyard. You may even have more fun than actually being in another part of the world!

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