Facebook is such a blessing and a curse, isn’t it? It’s a wonderful way to reconnect with old friends and family members, but it can cause the Green Eyed Monster to rear its ugly head all too often. You’re sitting at your desk crunching numbers and Joe Schmo is posting a 50+-photo album of his recent trip to Ibiza. Hrmph. Not. Fair. Vacation is great but, some years, the numbers or availability just aren’t there. Don’t fret! There are plenty of ways to get creative, even when staying home. Follow these tips for having a fantastic staycation in your backyard. Ibiza Schmibiza, right?
Fuel the Festivity
From twinkle lights and tiki torches to lanterns and candles, there are plenty of simple ways to turn your backyard into a vacation-y oasis. Heck, if you’re really going for it, don these Hawaiian shirts and throw some umbrellas in those piña coladas. It’s all about creating the mood. If you’re going for a straight-up luau feel, serve up some of these authentic and delicious treats that’ll make you feel like you’ve descended on the Big Island. Are you musically inclined? Get out that ukulele and have everyone sing along around the firepit. Is there anything better than an impromptu family jam sesh?
Games are a great distraction, and are especially enjoyed by those of us with a fierce competitive streak. There are so many games you can play in your backyard, from life-sized Jenga and soccer to a rousing game of bocce ball or ultimate frisbee. Or how about some backyard Bingo?
Cornhole has also become so popular that companies have even come up with light up versions so you can play well into the evening hours. Give the kiddos a break from chores and the heat with a bit of slip ‘n’ slide, a water balloon war, or a good old-fashioned super-soaker war. Have a pool? Lucky you! Challenge each other to a game of chicken. Photos of this are a must.
If you’re feeling nostalgic about your own childhood, help your children gather the neighborhood crew and take things old school. A nighttime game of Hide ‘n’ Seek, Kick the Can, or Freeze Tag will remind you and your littles that there certainly was life before Pokemon Go … not that there’s anything wrong with that!
Throw a Killer Campout
Whether you keep this in the family or invite a few other neighborhood fams to pitch tents, too, this is a super fun activity you can do in your own backyard. Stock up on camping snacks, which of course includes the Hershey bars, graham crackers, and marshmallows needed for S’mores. Be one with nature by hunting for sticks in your backyard or use these bamboo roasting sticks. Either way, there will be a heated discussion on whether to burn the marshmallows or simply give them a light crispy coating. This is a camping conversation tradition that you’ve surely engaged in time and time again.
Speaking of conversation, use the campout as a way to truly unplug and connect. Make the kids put away their phones, tablets, or any other electric devices and actually – gasp – talk! Let it flow freely or spook everyone out with your favorite ghost stories. Play a game of “telephone” or “I’m Going On a Picnic and I’m Bringing…” This will test the kids’ memories, as each person will add an item and, as you go around, everyone has to recite the full list. If you want, mandate that everyone go in alphabetical order. Talk about a sneaky way to practice their memory skills during the summer.
While you can keep it light, you might also consider this rare chance to have their undivided attention to share these crucial parenting life lessons. You won’t believe the deep conversations that can come from these, even with your little guys and gals! Stare up at the stars as you talk about appreciating the small things, helping the helpless, and following dreams. Teachable moments don’t always have to feel like teachable moments, you know?
No money for vacation this year? No problem! Follow these tips for having a fantastic staycation in your backyard. You’ll create memories that are truly priceless.