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Some years, a summer vacation to a distant land (or state) is simply not in the cards. Maybe you need to save money or maybe you just don’t have it in you to travel. So a staycation it is. That doesn’t mean everyone binge-watches television or holes up in different corners of the house using separate electronic devices, though. Staycations have a lot more to offer than that! Here are six healthy staycation ideas that will help you stay active and engaged with each other, whether at home or out and about.
- Think Like a Tourist
What do tourists do in your neck of the woods? Often locals skip the obvious attractions — the museums, botanical gardens, or historic sites — except when they have out-of-town guests. You don’t have to wait for Aunt Margaret to visit to explore the unique jewels your town or city has to offer. And all the walking around is good exercise.
- Splash Down
Speaking of exercise, nothing gets kids moving like water. Go swimming at the nearest lake or swimming pool, or wade in a creek and look for minnows, frogs and crawfish. Visit your town’s local splash park or splurge and go to a water park for a day. Fill up a wading pool in the backyard or let the little ones run in the sprinklers. Water play is one of the few activities that will keep my five-year-old daughter engaged for hours.
- Hike or Bike?
A family bike ride or hike is another great way to stay active and connect with each other while enjoying the outdoors. (Pro tip: to keep kids happy, bring snacks.) If you’d like to spend even more time in nature, camp at a nearby campground. Never camped before? Try pitching a tent in the backyard. Kids love the novelty of doing something different in a familiar place. S’mores, anyone?
- Make a Game of It
Board games are good family fun, but if you’re looking for something more active, how about trying a game of Twister? Or chalking a hopscotch grid on the driveway? Or organizing a scavenger hunt? If you’d like to get out of the house without planning anything elaborate, go for a penny walk. Leave your house and at each corner, flip a penny to see whether you’re going to turn left or right. You might end up in a part of the neighborhood you’ve never seen before!
- Dine Al Fresco
Is it just me or does food always taste better outside? Whether it’s dinner at the patio table or a picnic at a nearby park, try eating some of your meals in the great outdoors. It doesn’t have to be anything time-consuming or fancy. We picnic a lot in our family. Some of our favorite on-the-go foods are turkey and cheese wraps, cucumber and carrot sticks with paleo (dairy-free) ranch dip, sliced watermelon, and cassava chips.
- Do Good
Make the world a better place, by participating in a local beach, creek or park cleanup. The benefits are multiple. Your kids will take pride in having restored a slice of nature, your family will bond over a shared goal, and you’ll all get some exercise in the process.
However you choose to staycation, make sure to keep your family hydrated. Plain water works just fine, but if you want to jazz it up a little, try adding sliced strawberries, oranges or cucumbers for some subtle, natural flavor. Liquid flavored stevia is also a hit at our house for turning fizzy water into a natural, sugar-free soda.
Have you ever taken a staycation? How did you keep it healthy?