When the kiddos are off from school or daycare and you have no vacation plans, a week of at-home togetherness can seem daunting and overwhelming. You want to enjoy family time but it’s so easy to fall into the iPad-snacks-TV-snacks-repeat pattern. That’s where these staycation plans come in!

Make your school break anything but boring with these truly fun—and easy to execute—ideas that everyone will enjoy. You’ll also want to have this list in your back pocket for the long, hot summer to keep “I’m bored” at a minimum and make each day memorable. Here are some of our favorite cute staycation ideas with kids! 

Staycation Ideas for Kids

Have a hometown scavenger hunt.

Create a list of things to find on a drive, walk, or bike ride around your town and plan a reward for when they reach the end. You can also do this at home— indoors or out—any time.

Make a backyard picnic.

Pack their favorite foods in a picnic basket and don’t forget the blanket; a picnic in your own yard (or at a local park) feels special even if everyone is eating the same lunch as usual.

Work on vacation scrapbooks.

Can’t get away this holiday? Print photos from your last trip and help the kids paste them onto scrapbook pages to put into a book. You can also give them prompts to help fill the pages with their own thoughts and memories from the trip.

Eat somewhere new!

Scour the local parenting groups to discover a new restaurant in or near your city, get dressed up, and go! (If eating out with young children stresses you out, see our top tips here). 

Stay at a local hotel. 

You don’t have to leave your city or spend a fortune to enjoy all the perks of a hotel vacation. Just a night or two at a local hotel—room service, indoor pool, hanging out in the lobby—will be a memory-making experience the kids will love. 

Host a themed playdate.

Have their friends over to craft, bake, or put on a play for the parents. Any playdate with a theme or plan feels a bit more special than a plain-old hangout. (Learn playdate tips for first-time parents.)

Cook around the world.

Pick a country, look up some local traditions and favorite foods, and plan a homemade meal that takes you there at dinner time. If cooking in a new way is too much, get takeout from a local restaurant with that type of food instead. Read some children’s books about the country before or after dinner to round out the experience.

Visit a museum.

Whether it’s one you have not been to before or you’re just catching a new exhibit, expand their minds with art, science, history, or a sensory experience at a local museum.

Try a new craft. 

Everyone gets stumped coming up with age-appropriate crafts for kids sometimes. Look up something new on Pinterest or buy a craft kit and learn together. (Learn how to craft with kids—even if you’re not crafty!)

Have a “yes day.”

Say no to "no!" Core memories will be made. 

Redecorate their rooms.

When you’re home for several days with nothing much on the agenda, it’s a great time to head to the paint store, pick out new bedding, and help them with a quick room refresh. You don’t have to spend a ton, though: Just rearranging the furniture can make a world of difference—especially in a kid’s eyes!

Plant a garden.

From fruits to flowers, learn and try together when you set aside a sunny corner of the yard and get planting. If outdoor space is limited, go for indoor planters, window boxes, or countertop herbs. (Find out more about how to start gardening with kids.)

Tackle a project together.

Kids want to help, they just need interesting projects and a little direction. If there’s a paint job, cleanup, or fix-it that’s been on the list for a while, check it off together while teaching them something new. 

Do something charitable.

Even children too young to volunteer outside the home can give back. Create care packages for troops, pack up the car with giveaway items to drop off for donation, go shopping together to pick up needs and wants for young children at a local shelter… The list goes on and on!

Set up an art gallery.

All of their beautiful drawings can start to feel like clutter. If you’ve ever daydreamed about corralling everything into a functional and beautiful display, do it this week with their input. Check out our favorite ideas for storing and displaying children’s artwork

Go on a hike.

Suiting up in comfy clothes and getting out in nature is good for everyone! If you’ve got very little legs in the fam, consider babywearing in a backpack carrier or looking up stroller-friendly trails in your area. 

Serve breakfast in bed.

Even their everyday foods feel extra-special when served on a platter in bed. Add a sticker sheet, coloring book, or other simple activity to draw out the cozy quiet of the morning. Stumped for breakfast ideas? Try one of these!

Go swimming.

In your own backyard, at a friend’s house, or at a local pool, sometimes the best way to beat boredom with kids is to get them in water. Even in wintertime or during summer showers, local hotels and gyms are good places to check for an indoor pool with a day pass. No access to a pool? Fill up the bathtub with toys and bubbles and create an at-home spa for them. 

Host a party.

You don’t need a birthday as an excuse to blow up balloons, bake cupcakes, and play party games. Invite over a few favorite families, turn up the tunes, and have a “just-because” party no one will soon forget. 

Plan a backyard campout.

Camping in the backyard or at a local campsite feels like vacation, sans travel. If that’s not an option, help them make a fort in the living room and let them sleep there!

Look at old family photos. 

Leafing through the pages of treasured family albums from older generations or your own childhood is such a special way to connect with your children and teach them about who came before them. Let them select a few favorites to copy and frame for your walls.

Play classic schoolyard games.

Check out the dollar or thrift store for yard game accouterment and set up a day of outdoor family fun at home. Don’t forget to finish with water balloons if the weather is warm. 

Make a “vlog” for fun.

Not an influencer? Not a problem. Even if you won’t be posting it, make like a YouTube family and record a day in the life. Pass the camera around to each family member for their viewpoint, do something fun or silly, and share what makes each kid special. One day when you look back and watch it, this video will mean the absolute world to you.

Plan a meal together.

From recipe look-up to supermarket selection and meal prep, take their guidance on tonight’s dinner. We can almost guarantee they are likelier to try something new if they had a hand in its planning and execution. 

Put on a fashion show.

…And help them thin out their closets in the process. Trying on their favorite outfits and saying “cheese” is a great way to pass the time. Whatever “no” items they find while digging through their closets and drawers can go to donation that same day. Boom: You played and decluttered at the same time. 

Have a family game night.

Break out the board games and play old and new favorites together. Laughter will ensue.

Paint pictures.

If everyday art at your home is the crayon and marker variety, using paints just feels cooler, especially with little canvases. (You can buy affordable multipacks at craft stores or Target). Make this activity even better by setting up a station for yourself to paint alongside them.

Get a bubble machine.

Bubbles are fun no matter what, but the absolute wonder of a bubble machine kicks it up to a new level.

Have a movie marathon.

One movie has nothing on two or three movies! Start early, create a living room fort, and keep the snacks coming. 

Draw with sidewalk chalk.

Create a scene, set up hopscotch, or let them go nuts with their own doodles. Sidewalk chalk is one of those perennial activities that’s always a good idea.

Make an old family recipe.

Ask your parents or an older family member for some recipes from their book. Prepare this meal together and tell stories about the person who gave you the recipe. 

Do a science experiment.

Whether you use a book of ideas or check out what’s new from @thespacegal, open their minds to a new world with age-focused science experiments—or try one of these STEM activities especially for kids.

Look at the stars.

Stargazing is the perfect nighttime bonding activity for loved ones. Grab cozy blankets and head out to the porch or yard to take in the wonder of the night sky together.

More Activities for Kids:

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.