Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Top 10: Fun (low cost) things to do on staycation

This summer we had no family vacation plans, but I did have two fabulous weeks off with Lila. After a busy semester and summer session, I was definitely in need of a break and some real quality time with my girl. I was thrilled not to have a plan or a schedule. Every day we would wake up, get ready, and hit the road. I decided we would act like we were on vacation and enjoy all the little things there are to do near home. We had a great time! Here is our top 10 list of easy and fun things to do on staycation:

10) Have a picnic in the park. Lila and I share a love for picnics. It is a wonderful way to lounge and enjoy the weather on a beautiful day. The fun starts with preparing the lunch, which I let Lila take the lead on (after all, she is an aspiring chef). We usually pack PB&J, fruit, and other snacks, grab a blanket and head to our favorite park (or even just stay in the backyard).

9) Visit a mall in another city. We live down the street from our mall, so we tend to go there often. We have our regular routine-- we'll usually get a truffle from Godiva, sample various teas at Teavana, test out cool gadgets at Brookstone, flip through a few books at Barnes & Noble, and Lila runs around the kids' play area for a bit. We did this, as usual, during our staycation, but we also took a trip to another mall further away. It was kind of exciting to check out different stores and a new play area. This one even had kiddie rides!

8) Make s'mores. Whether you make them over a fire or pop 'em in the microwave, s'mores are just pure, messy fun. We sometimes like to treat ourselves to the s'mores at Cosi. Roast the marshmallows over a tabletop fire pit, assemble them with all the fixin's, and enjoy!

7) Paint your own pottery. We spent one afternoon with a friend at a local ceramics/pottery studio. You could pick out a piece of pottery ranging from $5-$50, choose your colors, and paint to your little heart's desire. Both adults and children can have fun and be creative. When you're finished, they will fire and glaze it for you to preserve your unique piece of art. Lila made a pretty trinket bowl for her dresser.

6) Thrill ride at your local amusement park. The merry-go-round, the "whip," kiddie coaster, giant slide, cotton candy, funnel cake, ice cream... need I say more?!

5) Check out a free (or low cost) movie. In the summer, Bowtie Cinemas offers free kids' movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. They also offer $6 movies all day on Tuesdays. Regal Cinemas offers $1 kids' movies also on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and $5 Tuesdays all day.

4) Surprise dad on his lunch break. My poor husband had to work all during our staycation. Boo! One day Lila pointed out that "daddy's missing all the fun." So, to brighten his day, we popped in to take him out to lunch. Lila was a star at her daddy's office and got lots of attention (and a lollipop). It was great to sneak in some QT during his workday.

3) Keep cool at the pool. We were invited by friends to hang out at one of the public pools in their area. We had a blast in the lazy river and splash playground and enjoyed a picnic lunch.

2) Browse your local farmer's market. This is a weekly ritual for me and Lila (and sometimes dad). Lila, being a miniature foodie, is like a kid in a candy store at the farmer's market. She always gets her gourmet olives and mushrooms (which barely make it home). We stroll through the market to sample delicious fruit and veggies and we always come home with a bag of goodies. YUM!

1) Be a beach bum. As mentioned in a previous post, Lila is a total beach baby. We are so fortunate to live near the water (and that Grandma has a place on the beach). I feel like the water and sun have healing, rejuvenating powers that allow me to return from "staycation" totally relaxed and refreshed.


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