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Jennifer in MI
05-16-2010, 05:37 PM
I didn't want to hijack another thread, so I thought I'd start my own. We need staycation ideas. What do you do when you're trying to do fun things at home?

I remember I read a trip report a couple years ago where they surprised their sisters or nieces with a trip to Disney. For the year before the trip, they had Disney themed nights. They'd pick a movie and then plan a night around it. So, for Hunchback of Notre Dame, they'd have french food and do an activity and then watch the movie. I'd love ideas like this one!

We are actually taking a quick trip this summer to a cousin's wedding. But, we're skipping our normal January vacation for 2011 so we can spend time in Europe next year. It's so hard to wait so long. So, I thought I'd try to make the wait easier on the kids and me!!! Ideas?

figment52
05-16-2010, 06:04 PM
I didn't want to hijack another thread, so I thought I'd start my own. We need staycation ideas. What do you do when you're trying to do fun things at home?

I remember I read a trip report a couple years ago where they surprised their sisters or nieces with a trip to Disney. For the year before the trip, they had Disney themed nights. They'd pick a movie and then plan a night around it. So, for Hunchback of Notre Dame, they'd have french food and do an activity and then watch the movie. I'd love ideas like this one!

We are actually taking a quick trip this summer to a cousin's wedding. But, we're skipping our normal January vacation for 2011 so we can spend time in Europe next year. It's so hard to wait so long. So, I thought I'd try to make the wait easier on the kids and me!!! Ideas?

Are you looking for around the house only staycations or are day trips ok?

You are in MI so there are always trips to the beach, fruit and vegetable picking at local orchards and farms.

AF_Judy
05-16-2010, 08:27 PM
You can have a themed movie night like the example you mentioned. If you watch Lilo and Stitch, you can have your own luau at home. Dollar Tree is selling flower leis and Hawaiian decorations right now. Or you can watch Ratatouille or The Princess and the Frog which both feature characters who love to cook. You can have your kids be the chefs by trying some simple recipes...with adult supervision of course!

If the weather is nice, you can go camping in your backyard. If you have a tent and sleeping bags, you can set those up in the yard. Make smores in the kitchen and bring them outside as you tell scary stories under the stars or make shadow puppets with a flashlight. When I was growing up, we didn't have a tent so we'd put up sheets on the clothesline instead.

Hope you have fun on your staycation! :)

brymolmom
05-16-2010, 08:38 PM
My neighbors did a cool one last summer. They are a family of 4 and they brainstormed 'fun' things in the area - 2 local amusement parks, zoo, museums, AAA baseball, pottery painting place, and each person in the family got to plan an ENTIRE DAY - the meals (only one was allowed to be at a restaurant) and one FUN place to go for the day. The Dad took 2 days off and they did a long weekend staycation. Now this isn't a money saving idea - if this is what you're looking for - they had a budgeted amount set per day that they saved for it.

But I really love the idea.

Brancaneve
05-16-2010, 08:44 PM
I have not watched the new game show, Minute to Win It, but my friend did a few of the activities with her kids and they had a blast. Maybe you could purchase inexpensive prizes and host the game show right in your own home!

mrsklamc
05-16-2010, 09:15 PM
Contact your local tourism bureau.... go to the places you would go if you were a tourist in your area.

mumto2
05-16-2010, 09:31 PM
Do you have an arboretum or nature center nearby? Our family has done activities with nature themes...we looked up information on plants and birds and tried to identify them. We fed the ducks, had a picnic, and just had a good day.

We scouted out area historical sites (including some that are a little off the wall) and visited them (our library has tons of local history info).

We did a statue hunt - visited statues and monuments in town and took the time to read the plaques and actually view the art.

We picked fruit locally, then made ice cream with it. That resulted in us looking at the many different kinds of icy desserts and figuring how to make them (the lemon sorbet was my favorite) - and making small batches of the most interesting a couple times a week all summer.

We made it a point to go to our library once a week, sometimes more. They have an amazing number of programs, many of which are absolutely free. Even now that DD is older, she still likes finding a good book and curling up while DH enjoys a puppet show or story time.

We also like to plan a menu from another country (the library has great resources for this, too) and enjoy it every so often.

Enjoy your staycation!

Pixieflip
05-17-2010, 01:15 AM
We did a staycation for spring break. We've traveled to Port Aransas, TX, for the past 5 spring breaks, but sadly, my aunt who lived there passed away, so we didn't go back this year. So on top of not going, we also didn't have my aunt. Know what I mean?

We tried to plan something fun every day. We did the zoo, twice actually. We did the dollar movie theater. We had a jammie day on purpose, not just because we were lazy. We baked. We grilled out. We used the fire pit and toasted marshmallows and made smores. And we took pictures of all our silly adventures. So it wasn't fancy, but it was fun.

For the summer, we've brainstormed a much larger list. Funds are limited, so we have to stay within reason. Also, it isn't realistic to do something EVERY day, contrary to my 11 year old's belief.

In addition to the ideas mentioned by the PP's, I will add:
-soda fountain in a nearby small town
-check out the different state parks nearby, we're going paddle boating this year
-check out national monuments or parks. We have a couple of lesser known places within a hour's drive - totally checking it out.
-enjoy the downtown of your city, if you live in one. Take the kids for lunch or just ice cream. Why do we always think we have to travel to do cool things?
-do you have any fun factory tours in your area? We have a chocolate factory!
-we always do AAA baseball, but we've discovered a couple of racetracks near us. Cars and racing, how fun will that be?
-farmers markets. buy fresh food and take it home and make a meal as a family or teach one of them to cook.
-plant a garden. We are totally doing this. It's an activity every day! Water it, measure it, watch it, weed it, and finally eat it! Or cut the pretty flowers!
-find the best place to watch the sunset. up on a hill? in a park? at the lake? your own back yard?

Happy summer. :goodvibes

missenmickey
05-17-2010, 08:07 AM
Hello - fellow Michigander here. I do not work in the summer so I am always looking for cheap, fun things to do with my kids. Our local library has free tickets to many local museums and parks. Every week we go in to the library and pick a different destination. We have been able to enjoy a lot activities for not much money. Your local library should also participate in the program.

julezdisney
05-17-2010, 12:36 PM
We are an hour west of Chicago so I googled free days chicago museums and got a list of free admision days. During June, I'm taking my kids to the city every Thursday to spend a day at free spots. We will pack lunches and they will bring allowance $ for souvies like pens or small toys.

We also have (2) free zoos within an hour-1/2 of us and I'm considering a 1 yr family membership that will allow us free or 1/2 off admission to 100s of zoos across the states through the Zoo Association that will get us free parking. Again, packed lunches and maybe pressed pennys or small token souvies.

Good luck!

magik
05-17-2010, 12:51 PM
Picnics at a local park
If you have a hand-held GPS unit or something like an iPhone with GPS in it, Geocaching (http://www.geocaching.com/) can be fun
Free summer movies at Regal (http://www.regmovies.com/nowshowing/freefamilyfilm.aspx) or $1 summer movies at AMC (http://www.amcentertainment.com/smc/).
Check your local library for free summer activities at the library and free tickets for local attractions - sometimes they'll have museum tickets or other attraction tickets
Not sure if there's anything like this around you, but when we were growing up, one of the local towns had free summer concerts outside the city hall that we would take blankets, picnic dinner, and sit on the grass and listen to live music...you might want to check your local paper for something like that.

DisneyNutMic
05-17-2010, 12:53 PM
We are getting a monthly family membership to the local swimming pool. Something he loves to do and I can get a whole month cheap enough.

budbeerlady
05-17-2010, 01:07 PM
We have been staying around the house with some great Ramada deals.

In February we booked the Ramada near our house for $38 total with taxes. We took Dd over valentines weekend so we could all swim. In March we stayed at one with a small water park for Dd to play in.

And this past weekend we stayed near Dh's favorite fishing spot for $36.04 total. Its a cheap great time and I usually run out and pick up Little Caesars hot and ready pizzas for a cheap meal. We feel like we got away but spent under $50 for the weekend, I am sure now that its finally getting warmer in MI the deals will end but it was fun while it lasted. Hopefully they start again in the fall!

crusoe2
05-17-2010, 02:07 PM
DS has a telescope that he's only taken out once or twice cause we don't have good visibility anywhere around our house. So, on a few evenings, I plan to load up the kids, the telescope, and a picnic supper and try out different spots for star gazing.

I'm also planning on lots of little things that we just don't normally have the time to do. We have a great corner drugstore that sells the yummiest ice cream and there's a gazebo across the street in the town square. My DD loves to get ice cream and take it over to the gazebo but of course that's one of those things we rarely have time for. So I plan to do that a couple times and then go browse in the second-hand stores nearby.

Sandi
05-17-2010, 03:17 PM
Not sure where you are in Michigan, but Lansing has a "Be a Tourist in Your Own Town" event coming up on June 5. Here is a link: http://www.lansing.org/batyot

We used to take DD15 when she was younger and we always had a lot fun exploring the different venues in the area. Part of the fun for her was riding the bus from one place to another. All of the local museums participate with the Capitol Building, the City Market, MSU, etc. I would guess other towns might have similar events. If you're not too far from the Lansing area, it is worth the drive.