Summer is the best time to explore different places with the kids. But with the rising gas prices, planning a vacation far from home seems like a rather impractical idea. That, plus the thought of bringing whiny kids on a road trip can make any eventual vacation seem less than inviting.
But don’t let the recession bring you down. There are things that families can do to make the most out of the summer vacation without necessarily spending a fortune. With a little bit of creativity, you can turn your frugal vacation idea into an escapade that the whole family will love.
Before hopping in the car, brainstorm with the kids to find out which kind of local vacation appeals most to them. Don’t forget to explain your financial situation in simple terms, so that children can pitch in their frugal vacation ideas with you. Take a good look at your own backyard and nearby areas to see which places would be the best to go to for outdoor activities.
Make some planning in order to make your stay at home vacation the most adventurous! Here are some ideas to get you started plus some tips to make your staycation a successful one.
Does the idea of sleeping under the stars excite you and the little ones? If your answer is yes, take out your sleeping bags and pitch a tent right in your own backyard.
Camping out in your backyard is the easiest way to break the monotony of the summer vacation without ever spending on gas. All you need to bring are sleeping bags or mattresses, a tent, warm clothes and blankets, flashlights with extra pairs of fresh batteries, insect repellent, food, water and of course, yourself. You can also take with you a camera, binoculars, a radio, camp chairs and CDs to keep you entertained. At night, try enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with roasted marshmallows while listening to spooky ghost stories to be told by any member of the family.
If you wish to take your camp out somewhere else, say in a wildlife or nature reserve, make prior arrangements with a local wildlife federation so that you can prepare ahead and enjoy your outdoor vacation to the fullest.
If you think gardening is dull, think again! Gardening for wildlife is a surefire way to attract different species of animals in your garden. Even a small yard can turn into a haven for tiny animals. All you need to do is provide food, water and shade for these animals and you can enjoy watching them move about in your garden from your bedroom window.
Some organizations like the Natural Wildlife Federation offer certification for wildlife gardens. If you want your garden to be certified, you need to give provisions for the animals so that they can thrive in your urban garden.
You don’t have to be a professional to enjoy the beauty of nature photography. Even with a point and shoot camera on hand, you can still capture the beauty of wildlife as long as you know where and how to find them.
Aim your camera to the little critters that pass by your garden every day. Immortalize the beauty of flowers, insects and the occasional squirrel through your lens. When taking pictures of wildlife, remember that it pays to be patient and persistent. You don’t know when animals would suddenly pop up or when the perfect lighting will take place. It’s also helpful if you bring a tripod with you to stabilize your shots or to keep the camera from shaking.
Fishing is another outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy. You don’t have to pack a lot of things when going out fishing. A fishing rod, some bait and plenty of patience are all you need for this activity.
And since you’re camping out with the whole gang, you might as well cook the fish that you caught. A makeshift grill made of tree branches that are nestled on rocks will make your fishing activity a whole lot of fun. Don’t forget to clean up the mess afterwards!
There is simply no running out of things to do even when on a budget. Make your stay at home vacation special by trying out new activities for the summer. Your kids will definitely love the adventure and they will learn how to appreciate nature more, thanks to the outdoor activities you have planned out with them.
Maxine Dee is a mother and wife who is dedicated to going green. The more she has learned, the more important she has seen the importance of going green for her family’s health and well-being as well as that of the earth. When not with her family, she works for Treetopia, a seller of artificial Christmas trees. Their trees are multi-colored including pine and white Christmas trees for every style.