Most of us prefer international destinations with all the fun and excitement that come with flights, hotels, tours, and a new unknown place, but sometimes, staying at home is necessary and the right thing to do. You might just need to stay home and away from the crowd and focus on bonding with your family in a deeper way. Yes, it might not be as fun and exciting as trips away from home or fun events with friends, but staycations can be thrilling and has a place in our vacation agenda too. So, instead of meeting Mickey Mouse at Disney World, you can do virtual meet-and-greets with animals at a zoo or explore a virtual museum. Add in a few other exciting options and your kids might not even realize they are having all this much fun at home.
Disclaimer: During this current period where everyone should be social distancing to help break the chain of transmission of the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus), we recommend staying home unless you absolutely have to be somewhere else. Most ideas on this list are fun things you can do with your family at home or around your home to keep you sane. A few others should be reserved for when you can responsibly move around more freely. Please refer to the CDC and WHO for more guidance when unsure of what you can or cannot do. We urge everyone to do their part in keeping us all safe.
25 Fun Local Things to Do with Family Without Crowds
1) Enjoy a Picnic in your Backyard
If you’re not into crowds but still need some fresh air, you can simply wander out to your backyard. If you prefer to stay inside, you can throw a blanket or two on the floor and enjoy your picnic in the comforts of your living room. The possibilities are really endless here, so basically do what you feel comfortable with and make things new and exciting for your staycation. We do not recommend going to a local and busy park during the periods of social distancing. In that case, your backyard should be fine as long as you don’t have any other company but that of your family that live with you in your house.
2) Arts and Crafts
All kids love to do arts and crafts, so start searching Pinterest for some ideas you will all enjoy. Have your kids choose a couple projects to do on their own and then choose a couple you can all do together. Since Easter is right around the corner, you can draw Easter eggs and decorate them, make your own baskets, and so much more. Don’t forget, there are tons of coloring pages available online too, so you can print those out to keep kids happy for hours.
3) Swim in a Natural Swimming Hole
While swimming in pools with lots of other people is usually a no-go at for staycations without crowds, natural swimming holes are an excellent way to get refreshed and spend a little time outside. You may have a natural swimming hole near where you live and not even know about it, so make sure you do a little research to see if this is an option. And if you do find a swimming hole near you, please make sure it’s free of crowds. You can reserve a visit to a swimming hole for a later time when you don’t have to worry about social distancing.
4) Go Camping in Your Backyard
Camping at a campground is not a good idea when you’re trying to avoid a crowd and staying within your family unit, but you can still camp in a secluded area or right in your backyard. Simply put up a tent or two in your yard, start a campfire, and make s’mores and tell scary stories until it is time to go to bed.
5) Visit a Local Park
When you’re truly planning a staycation, this is something you can add to your list of things to do with your kids. Remember that going to a local park and getting close to other people is not social distancing so don’t do this when you’re supposed to be home. But if you’re generally planning a staycation and there is no restriction on movements, going to a local park is a way to keep kids entertained and expend all that energy. And if you do go to the parks and even if there are no crowds, be sure to wipe down any surfaces your children might be in contact with. We generally advise to take walks and play sports that don’t require touching any park equipments or being in close contact with others while social distancing.
6) Watch Musicians Perform Impromptu Concerts on Social Media
Many performers are feeling stuck since they cannot get out and see their fans, so they are taking their performances to social media. You never know who will be live when you are searching, but if you can’t find one, you can watch a past performance or even search YouTube. Keith Urban is one of the performers who is embracing this new way of spending time with fans at this time, but there are many others jumping on this bandwagon.
7) Play Different Sports Outside
There are so many sports you can play out in your own backyard, so get out all those balls and sporting equipment and get an impromptu game going. Don’t forget about things like water guns, the sprinkler, and even water balloons if it is warm out where you live.
8) Create Your Own Fitness Program
Gyms everywhere are shutting down, which means no one gets their workouts in. While there are dozens of YouTube videos and apps for you to choose from, you can also create fun fitness routines for your whole family to enjoy. You can create a new routine every day or you can create four or five different ones to utilize on specific days of the week. So enjoy getting fit at home.
9) Create a Family Book Club
Reading can be fun when you decide to create a family book club for your staycation. Since everyone will be reading the same book, you can have rousing discussions at the end of each chapter, at the halfway point, or even when you have all finished the book. If your kids are still little, or even if they are not, you can also choose to read the book aloud for everyone to enjoy at the same time.
10) Cook or Bake Together
Cooking and baking are always more fun when you do it as a family, so take advantage of this togetherness to make a few recipes together or even create a few new ones. If you do not have a cookbook, do a Google search for a recipe you will all love. This can even be helpful if you are missing key ingredients, because you can search for a recipe that utilizes what you have on hand.
11) Have Family Days or Nights
Family days or nights can include watching movies, playing board games, or even family video games. Your options can rotate, and you can even throw things in that you have never done before, like putting a puzzle together or creating a new card game.
12) Watch the Animals at the Zoo Virtually
You don’t have to go to the zoo to observe animals. You can do that online. The Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC, the San Diego Zoo, and many others are hooking up cameras and live feeds, so you can enjoy the animals and learn more about them from your home during your staycation. This is excellent for all those animal lovers out there, as well as small children who may not be too excited about everything else they are experiencing at this time.
13) Watch a Movie in the Backyard
It might be difficult to move the television into the backyard, but you won’t regret watching a movie with your family in a new way during your staycation. Fire up the grill for a late dinner or snack, or simply pop some popcorn to eat while you watch a few old favorites or even a new flick or two.
14) Take a Virtual Tour of a Museum
Many museums have pictures of the different items within their exhibits that you can view online, but other museums offer virtual tours that are almost as good as being there in person. The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam has one of the best virtual museum tours, but you can find many others for your staycation pleasure.
15) Go Hiking
You might prefer to hike through the wilderness, but this is not the time to do something risky that might get you injured and needing a hospital. It is best to stick to stick real close to your home if you’re truly making it staycation and find walking trails that are quiet to enjoy quality time with your family. During a period of active social distancing, a hiking trail that might have other people hiking it is not a good idea for social distancing.
16) Dance to Some Music
There is no rule that dancing needs to be reserved for nightclubs, so turn the music up and dance until you can’t dance anymore in the middle of your living room. You can even turn this into a competition if your kids are older, so they feel as if they need to participate in order to win the prize.
18) Binge Watch Netflix and Netflix Party
While you won’t want to have Netflix on all day and night every single day of your staycation, there is nothing wrong with binge watching a show or two for a few hours one day. Settle on a show the entire family loves and watch it from the time you get up until the time you go to bed that night. Your kids might wonder what’s going on if this is usually not allowed, but they can see that there are times where you need to be flexible and adjust your life accordingly. And there is now “Netflix Party” which allows you to watch the same movie with friends and chat as the movie progresses.
18) Take a Walk Along A Local and Secluded Beach
If you live on a beach or near a beach, then you’re pretty lucky as you can still walk along the shoreline while staying close to home. You won’t want to spread your beach blanket next to anyone else, but you can still enjoy the breeze in your hair, as well as the scent of the ocean air. Just avoid beaches that are crowded and don’t come in close contact with anyone. Going to the beach is not a good idea during social distancing and should be reserved for when we don’t have restrictions in movement.
19) Start a Journal
Everyone seems to be journaling lately, so if you haven’t started, this is an excellent time to start. You don’t need a special journal to get started, but you can always order one if you want. Until you get one though, you can simply grab a notebook from your stash of school supplies or even just staple a few sheets of paper together. There are so many options available that will allow you to start writing your thoughts, dreams, and wishes, as well as your to-do lists of things you want to do when your staycation is finally over.
20) Build a Fort
Almost every kid loves to build forts, so use this time to create the fort of all forts! Use those couch and chair cushions to create a few walls and then pile on the sheets and blankets. Serve breakfast, lunch, or even dinner inside the fort and provide a flashlight or two for some slumber party excitement.
21) Dedicate a Day to a Specific Festival
This year, many festivals are being canceled or postponed, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all the fun. Simply create your own decorations and food to have the same festival in your own home during your staycation.
22) Learn a New Skill or Activity
This is an excellent time to teach yourself how to paint or cook or even how to knit. You can learn from watching videos and your kids might even join you as well.
23) Drive Around to See the Sights
While you cannot be around too many people, you can take a short drive around in your car to see the sights without getting out of the car. This is an excellent way to learn where certain things are and to see different areas you may not have thought of visiting in the past. You can then add points of interest to a list, so you can return to some favorites later on in the year.
24) Go for a Bike Ride
Getting out for some fresh air is always an excellent idea and if you don’t want to meet any crowd, stay local and within your neighborhood. A bike ride is a wonderful way to get some exercise, see the sights near where you live, and spend some time together without being cooped up indoors. During the periods of social distancing, we don’t recommend that you ride a bike anywhere that will get you in close contact with anyone else that does not live in your house.
25) Plan a Spa Day at Home
Not everyone in the family will get behind a spa day, but those that can, will enjoy an entire day of pampering. Consider a nice long bubble bath, have the kids or your spouse give you a mini massage or rub your feet, and throw a couple cucumber slices on your eyes while you relax. Rub in some lotion at the end and you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle a few more days of your staycation.
These are twenty-five of the fun local things you can do with your family during your extended stay-at-home. While these ideas will get you through this time of your life, feel free to keep them in mind for those days in the future when your kids claim they are bored and you are looking for fun things to do with them!