how to plan a fun staycation with kids at home

How to Plan The Ultimate Home Staycation With Kids

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Your holiday is cancelled. Or you don’t have the budget to take a trip. So why not plan a staycation with kids at home instead! Our guide on the best staycation ideas for families will have you creating amazing memories, without having to leave your backyard!

How to plan the ultimate fun staycation with kids at home

How To Plan A Home Staycation With Kids

It’s always disappointing when a planned vacation needs to be cancelled, but there is no reason why you can’t have a fun, exciting and memorable staycation with kids instead!

The same goes for having no travel budget and instead deciding to create a vacation at home! There are plenty of benefits to taking a staycation for families and couples, as a budget-friendly way to enjoy holiday vibes at home!

If you want to know how to make the most of a staycation with your family, consider the following guide that will have your kids laughing all “staycation’ long—all without leaving your home.


girl relaxing in her backyard on staycation

Choosing a Staycation Theme

Choosing a staycation theme can be a bit overwhelming, but a little planning can go a long way towards finding the perfect staycation theme or idea for you and your kids.

Why not ask your kids what they might want to do for a staycation?

Ask them if there are any specific countries or themes they would be interested in recreating for the staycation. This can help you springboard towards more unique staycation ideas.

After all, a staycation with kids should be something they genuinely enjoy!

Here are some fun general staycation themes:

  • Summer holiday
  • Winter warmer
  • Road trip
  • Tropical cruise
  • Camping trip
  • Spring break

Mexican food theme night
A feast of homemade Mexican food and drinks for a Mexico themed staycation

International Themes

Since travel is out of the picture, it’s time to bring travel into your home!

An international theme staycation based on another country—such as Italy, Japan, France, etc, can be a great platform for a wide variety of ideas. It’s also a perfect way for kids to learn about a new country.

For example, visiting “France” can begin with a traditional recipe for a French breakfast; watching children’s cartoons in French; taking a virtual tour of France’s famed Palace of Versailles on a tablet or smart TV; creating a bucket list of Paris attractions for your future real visit, and ending the day with an attempt at homemade macarons.

If you are struggling to decide on a theme, these kid’s travel subscription boxes might help! Loaded with fun activities to teach kids about new countries each month… plus a simple way to decide on your next virtual destination!

Check out our mammoth armchair travel guide with a huge collection of virtual tours in museums, castles and famous attractions, plus wildlife live streams from around the world.

For Mexico, you may enjoy a day of tacos, quesadillas and nachos, non-alcoholic mojitos and take your afternoon siesta before an afternoon of Day of the Dead inspired crafts and dress ups.

You can find loads of inspiration for recipes from around the world to bring the flavours of the world to your family!

Plus don’t forget dessert with these best dessert recipes of the world too.

And the best around the world drinks to make too – cocktails, kid-friendly and coffee too.


Preparing For A Staycation

You may need to do a little planning before you kick off your staycation if you have the time and stock up on themed supplies such as international foods and decorations.

For example, with a Polish themed staycation, you won’t want to forget the pierogi!

Children’s books are a fun way to inspire wanderlust about a new destination, such as these picture books about Australia.

Crafts involving your theme are also a wonderful way to add fun to your staycation, all while teaching your child more about your staycation destination.

There are plenty of fun activities you can do at home, from indoor activities to backyard adventures, like a scavenger hunt. No need to spend a thing!

And don’t forget the music! Spotify is a great music streaming service with plenty of international playlists!


Family Game Staycation

If your kids love games, then a “family game” theme may be the perfect option!

Break out all the board games, card games and multi-player video games and plan the ultimate family game day. This is the perfect way to spend quality tech-free time as a family.

If your kids do well with competition, you can create a scorecard to see who gets the most “points” for winning games at the end of the day.

You can add some wanderlust to your game time by playing one of these travel-themed board games.


Backyard camping with kids

Backyard Camping

If your family loves to camp and you already have everything you need, why not turn your backyard into a camping staycation?

Set up the tent and beds, get out the sleeping bags and prepare for a night under the stars.

Sure you could just sleep in the backyard and eat meals inside like normal, but why not make it more like an authentic camping trip and pack the esky, seeing if you can avoid going inside for anything other than to use the bathroom.

Some of these campervan meals are perfect for a backyard camp kitchen cook up too!


Indoor Movie Marathons

You can recreate the experience of a movie theatre in your own home with a bit of planning and DIY set-up.

To make an indoor movie night different from any other night watching a movie on the TV, try these tricks:

  • Hang thick blackout curtains over the windows to simulate the darkness of a cinema
  • Make movie theatre style popcorn with extra butter
  • Dip your ice cream cone in chocolate to make homemade choc-tops
  • Set up a mock ticket counter and let your kids “buy” their popcorn, tickets and other treats
  • Decorate paper bags to look like cinema popcorn bags
  • Make movie tickets for your kids to ‘buy’ and give to the usher—that’s you!

FAmily dining together oudoors

How to Make a Staycation Feel Like a Vacation

Whatever type of theme you choose for your family’s staycation, don’t forget the following ideas. These tips will help your staycation feel much more like a family vacation to your kids:

  • Make sure the house is clean and clutter-free
  • For an international theme, have your kids pack a suitcase with clothes to suit (don’t forget dressing up for dinner!)
  • Let your kids be on vacation mode during your staycation—set aside the remote learning work for a day or two!
  • Be a little more relaxed on your usual routine with things like bedtime
  • Keep to holiday traditions you normally have as much as possible

One vacation tradition for us is always making a DIY travel activity kit for the kids. This would work just as well for keeping little ones occupied on a staycation too.

And remember to take plenty of staycation photos!

You can share them online with friends and family. Or print them out to place them in your treasured family albums.

For whatever reason you are opting to have a fun staycation with kids at home, there is no reason you can’t make it just as memorable as your vacations. What a wonderful, budget-friendly way to turn your home into a weekend adventure destination for the whole family!

Staycations are also a great time to look back at old travel journals or scrapbooks… or perhaps catch up on those unfinished travel memory projects!