Summer’s here, and normally (remember normal?) you’d be going on a big family vacation right about now. Just because you can’t go away to the beach, go camping, or visit family in another state doesn’t mean you can’t have a vacation though. Today, we’ll show you how to throw the ultimate summer staycation, so you and your family can enjoy all your favorite parts of summer vacation from the comfort of home!

Turn Your Backyard Into a Water Park

Summer visits to the beach, pool, or waterpark are some of kids favorite things to do. If your family doesn’t have a pool or live near the beach, consider turning your backyard into a waterpark! Slather on some sunscreen, get the kids in their favorite swimsuits or activewear, and set up your Rocky Mountain River Race or inflatable pool. For younger kids, try breaking out the Magic Flower Water Table™ or Island Wavemaker™. Water tables are full of awesome water activities for toddlers that also help develop their motor skills.

Build a Blanket Fort

If you don’t have a backyard (or it’s just too hot outside), consider building a blanket fort in your living room. Clear a little area in your living room and put two rows of dining chairs on opposite sides (make sure the backs of the chairs are facing each other). Drape a big blanket over the tops of the chairs and fasten it with some safety pins. If the blanket is a little heavier, pin it to the cushions of the chairs using heavy books for extra support. Lay a comforter down inside your for a little extra padding and let your kids play in their new blanket fort! Blanket forts are a great place for coloring, story time, naps, or anything else your kids want to do indoors!

Create an Obstacle Course

Parents are always looking for more ways to keep their kids up and active, and we’re huge fans of building a backyard obstacle course (or hosting the Backyard Olympics). To build your own obstacle course, gather up all of your kids active play toys (whether that’s a wooden playset, their Cozy Coupe®, their EasyStore™ 3-ft Trampoline, or anything else you have handy) and build a rough course out of them. Try to space out activities that use the same motor skills (so don’t put your trampoline next to another activity that requires your kids to jump a lot) so that your kids are using different skills at different times. Next, plan out how many of any given activity (jumping, climbing, sliding, etc) your kids have to do. Then, let them run free! Run a stopwatch to see how fast your kids can run through the obstacle course and challenge them to set a new record every day.

Make S’mores

S’mores are the dessert of the summer. There’s something so memorable about sitting around the campfire making s’mores with your family. If you’ve got a backyard fire pit, you’re all set! Just grab some marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate and you’re all set. If you don’t have a good outdoor fire pit, you can make s’mores in the oven using your broiler. Just lay your graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate on a cookie sheet (leave the top graham cracker off for now) and pop them in the oven for 45 seconds. After 45 seconds of broiling, the chocolate should be melted and the marshmallows should be a nice golden brown!

Visit the ‘Beach’ in Your Turtle Sandbox

You can recreate the feeling of visiting the beach by putting up a sun shade, setting out your beach chairs, throwing on your kids active wear or swimwear. and letting your kids build a sand castle in their Turtle Sandbox. Our Dirt Diggers are an excellent way to encourage your kids to get creative with their sand castles.

Take Turns Reading a Book Aloud

If you’re looking for a relaxing way to unwind after a day of playing in the sun, why not gather the family up for some story time? Take turns reading a book aloud (especially if your kids or their siblings are old enough to read) so that everyone has a chance to add their own voice and flair to the story. Try giving different characters their own voice to add an extra level of magic to the story. You can also get audiobooks from your local library if your kids are too young to read themselves.

Grill Up Some Dinner and Eat a Picnic in the Backyard

Even just changing the tiniest parts of your routine can make things fun during a staycation. Next time you’re sitting down for dinner as a family, try eating in your backyard on a picnic blanket or on your patio. Getting outdoors (and putting down screen or turning off the TV) can lead to some interesting family conversations. Try engaging your kids in the cooking by having them put burger patties on buns, mix the salad, or even set the table. Engaging your kids in making dinner is a great way to spend some quality time together during a staycation.

Go for a Hike

A small change of scenery can make all the difference when you’re stuck at home for the summer. Find a local trail and take the whole family on an afternoon hike. Just getting outside in the fresh air is the perfect way to take a vacation from the routine.

Make Lemonade from Scratch

You can easily turn snack time into an activity by making a tasty summer treat with your kids. We love the taste of homemade lemonade, and it’s super easy to make. Grab 6 lemons, 4 cups of water, and about 1/3rd of a cup of honey (or sugar). Take 5 of the lemons and juice them into a pitcher. Add the water and honey/sugar and stir for a couple of minutes until it has a uniform color. Then, pop it in the fridge to cool down or add ice. Cut up the last lemon into slices to garnish your lemonade!

Make sure to snap pictures of your kids during your staycation, and don’t forget to tag us when you post (@OfficialLittleTikes on Instagram, @LittleTikes everywhere else on social media)! 

Ready for more? Check out the all-new Little Tikes Camp [email protected] This virtual summer camp has all sorts of activities, games, and more ways to play—and some special things especially for you as parents to stay sane! Check out our blog for more information.

At Little Tikes, we don’t just make toys, we make play. Looking for more great active play ideas? Check out www.LittleTikes.com for all our latest play tips & tricks!