How to Execute Staycation Ideas for Cheap Family Fun

Girl sightseeing with overlay How to Execute Staycation Ideas for Cheap Family Fun

Are you nervous your kids are going to be home all summer and you don’t have anything for them to do? Don’t you cry, you don’t have to blow your family budget on camps all summer. Instead, here are 7 ways staycation ideas for families can make summer fun easy and inexpensive to plan.

Here in the northeast, we get out of school in June and go back in September, so we have a month left of summer vacation to go. For some moms, this is not enough time for all the fun they want to see happen this summer. For others… they are ready for back to school time. You know which mom you are!


It’s tough though to create a week’s worth of family summer fun time memories.

If your kids are into certain activities during the summer like softball games 3 days a week or track and field camp 2 days a week, it can be hard to plan a week away.

Then again you may not have the funds this summer for a week vacation. That does not mean your summer is shot. Here are 7 ways to reclaim summertime fun for your family.

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1. Plan a Summer Bucket List of Family Staycation Ideas

Have everyone sit down over your favorite dessert and make a list of at least one thing each family member would like to do this year.

Engage your kids, get them dreaming and you may be surprised some ideas will be extravagant and some will be rather simple staycation ideas. For example one might say a trip to Disneyworld, another might say a trip to the sprinkler park. LOL!

Write down all the ideas and make a grand family fun bucket list.

See how many of the wishes can become reality for you this summer. And if not this summer, then later this year.

2. Plop certain Staycation Ideas for each week of vacation

Sit with the family calendar in hand or on the computer and start plopping down staycation ideas from the bucket list into each week of the calendar.

Be sure that at least one item from each family member’s staycation ideas bucket list makes it on the calendar. This way each family member will have something to look forward to and can say, “this summer we did this great thing I really wanted to do!”

3. Figure out how to do achieve your Staycation Idea for free

If a few of the items on the list involve an entrance fee, try to do a bit of research on how you can accomplish it for free or at a great discount.

There are many museums, zoos, and attractions that have cooperations with local libraries where you can use a library pass to procure a discounted or free entry.

Some museums may have a program where one Friday in the summer is their FREE Friday entrance day. Or some other special promotion. Look into it, you may find you can knock off a lot of items on the summer bucket list for free.

If your family is a Military family or a Veteran’s family like ours, you may be surprised to discover that Vets or Military families gain free entrance to state-run beaches and parks that usually issue parking fees. It’s always worthwhile to ask.

This can save a lot of money on summer fun for the family.


4. Pack your own lunches and bring along backpacks

Plan ahead, bring your own food along and save hundreds of dollars.

When you compare going out to dinner for a family of 5 near $80+ to ordering deli meat and making your own picnic with sandwiches, chips, and drinks from home for under $25, it’s a no-brainer.

If you are having a day outing, have the kids dig out their old school backpacks, and pack their snack, drink, and lunch in there to carry around.

They can be responsible for the bag and in return have access to the food inside if they are hungry or thirsty. They can also carry their own devices, a light rain jacket, hat, and wallets, too.

You won’t have to schlep their bags and food, and they gain independence.

If they make the mistake of eating all their food before lunch. That’s on them. Just like if they went on a field trip at school. Life Lessons…

5. Just get out there & KISS

Keep it simple sweetie! I wowed my husband the other day when we decided to follow my advice and head out to the beach (on my daughter’s bucket list), with only TWO bags.

The bag of towels and beach blankets and the rolling picnic cooler bag with food. Oh, and beach chairs on our backs and an umbrella for shade.

It was glorious, we just put on our suits, I had sandwiches made (see above) and we took off for an afternoon at the beach. It was a GREAT simple day.

Our toddler is almost two so I only brought a few extra swim diapers and a regular diaper and we were off! Man, it was fun.

Just get out there and go people. Don’t overcomplicate things.

My husband started trying to overcomplicate it and add a bunch of stuff to bring and I put my foot down. “We don’t need that, it’s okay to travel lite. Let’s just go!” and we did and we will again.

6. Have backup Staycation Ideas for rainouts

If the plans for the day are squelched because of weather, have a few fun backup plans you can accomplish at home to still make the day special. Here are some tried and true favorites of ours:

Movies in the living room with homemade popcorn and boxes of movie candy from the dollar store stashed away.

A day dedicated to board games and family fun around the kitchen table.

Time to build a fort for little ones and a good game of hide-and-go-seek is always fun.

A day of baking cake and cookies or some other favorite indulgence, homemade fried dough sound good?

These special treats can make an otherwise disappointing day a fun and memorable day at home.

7. Build in days to chill

Remember that summer is meant for chilling. Feel free to ease up the schedule and have some days for simply chilling out with a good book, a lazy swim in the pool or a good afternoon nap during a thunderstorm.

Take the pressure off to make some ideal of what you think summer should be for your family and just enjoy each other.

Go ahead, plan some fun treats for the rest of your summer today and look forward to the adventures ahead.

Happy Summer!


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For more ideas on how to have fun with your kids, try these articles:

7 Easy Mother-Daughter Date Ideas Your Teenager Will Love

How to Enjoy Authentic Mother-Daughter Bonding Time

Want a Fun Family Vacation With Teens, but Not your Tot? Go for it!

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