When Darling Husband told me he was taking this week as a vacation my mind was aflutter with possibility: hiking in Acadia, driving through the White Mountains, sailing in Stonington, sunning at Scarborough Beach...is there anywhere better to be in the summer?
Then he paused snipping my thoughts off like a dead geranium, “And I am thinking we should just stay home.”
As much as I love being with my family, embarking on a “staycation” is not relaxing for me; I get to do the same chores I do in regular life but for more people.
I was going to bring this up but I knew he was imagining all the things he could power wash around the house. I can’t take that away from him.
It is all about change of perspective. I needed to see my home from the eyes of someone who drove many miles to be here and was paying top dollar to do laundry. I mean, there are places you go to in Italy and cook the whole time.
If I created one totally new, fun activity a day I could distract Baby Boy from confusing the power washer with a sprinkler. Here are a few ideas to help you turn your home into Club Med--there are still several weeks until school starts, so “staycation” or not, you may need some inspiration to get you and the kids through.
Mystery Yard: This works anywhere there is a bit nature. It is a silent activity. Blindfold your child and lead them to something in the yard, like a tree. Take their hands and place them on the bark, a twig, a leaf. Let them explore and then guess what it is. For older children, they can draw what they think it is, still blindfolded. If a bird chirps, tap their ear so they listen. Bend their nose to a flower. Have them lay in the grass and feel it tickle their skin. The purpose is to enhance their senses to all the little things they see everyday but probably ignore.
Feet Painting: This will keep kids of all ages happy for a long time. Roll out large banners of mural paper in the driveway and tape down. Surround with newspaper. Set pans lined with sponge cloth (so they don’t slip) of tempura paint around the edges. It will be tempting for them to jump in with their whole foot and stomp around (but we need this to last!). Coax them to just dip in their big toe and write their name, then their pinky and make little bees. You can play different types of music and have them dance with the paint on their feet so they can see what their dancing “looks like.” Hose them off before they streak into the living room.
Sunrise Yoga: Vacation or not, most kids still rise with the roosters. You have to be up anyway, so make the most of these sleepy hours. Spread yoga mats or beach towels on the grass or in the living room. Play relaxing music and have the kids mimic your movements. Stretch tall to the sky, balance on one foot, curl into a little ball (don’t fall asleep here!). Swap leaders every few minutes. If a kiddo is stuck for moves, have them pretend they are their favorite animal moving in slow motion. When you are done you will feel so refreshed you won’t even need coffee!
Pajama Picnics: One of my favorite activities. Don’t go overboard with the food--just pack a cooler of string cheese, apple slices, juice boxes--easy, non-messy snacks. Head to a local beach or park where the sun sets. Surprise the kids with new jammies to wear. Spread big blankets around and toss books, puzzles, dolls around. Let everyone wind down as the golden light falls over the water.
Snap!: I know most kids probably all have their own digital cameras, but go buy a bunch of disposable ones--it is a good lesson in patience that they can’t see the pics until they are developed. Take them on a walk downtown or in the Mall. Let them become Annie Leibovitz for an afternoon. After you develop them (try to go to a place that does it in an hour) make photo albums (complete with stickers and glitter) of your (non-umbrella drink, non-cabana boy, non-parasailing, but fun nonetheless) staycation.