With the official start of summer being only a few days away, being able to go on vacation is certainly on everyone’s mind. Of course, when a family is involved, the price of travelling can get expensive rather quickly. From the plane tickets, hotel stays, and food expenses, a fairly simple family vacation can not only cost quite a bit, but also become equally stressful. As nice as a lavish vacation might sound, it is not always doable for the average family every single year.

So how can you keep multiple kids occupied during the summer months while school is out? Standard backyard play can become dull and less entertaining as the days go on, especially as the heat rises. For kids, the key is to focus on the experience, and less on the place. Memories are built from enjoyment, and the experience is the driving component. By having a kid-fun local summer plan in place, you will hear less of the all too common “I’m bored.” Plus, let’s not forget some of the savings you’ll reap!

Here are some ideas that can make even your backyard a cool summer hang-out:

Water Play: For those who live near a beach or a lake, frequent visits during the summer are a no-brainer. Most kids love water, and whether swimming or just splashing in it during the hot months, water play is a definite plus! If the beach or lake is not an option, you can always try your local pool, splash pad, or invest in a backyard blow up pool.  Even merely running across sprinklers, playing with squirt guns or water balloons is bound to be a definite win. Feel free to grab some snacks & juice boxes and make a day out of it.

Backyard Camp Out: The key to a great backyard camp out is to go all out with this activity – the possibilities really are endless! The night can start with and a scavenger hunt. The kids can search the house, yard and even the neighborhood while having a blast looking for clues, then finding the ultimate treasure! The night can end with stargazing, an outdoor movie, or a fire pit ready for s’mores nachos – yummy!

A Night Out on the Town: Many cities have family-friendly summer outdoor concerts or movie showings where you can bring a food & snacks, plus chairs and blankets. Not to mention some of these events are free to enter and dog friendly too. Just make sure to get there early to find a great viewing spot. There’s nothing like outdoor entertainment and a cool night to complete summer.

Visit a Local Museum: As locals, we tend to forget that many museums, science centers, and botanical gardens are within reach of a simple drive. Many have cool sights to see and history to learn; from dinosaur bones and amazing art collections, to life sciences and diverse flora. The best part is when you are not afraid to visit some great off-the-beaten-path museums as well. Touring historic buildings and learning about special collections can spark appreciation for the town we call home. Plus, many are free to get in or offer free admission on select days.

Do Something You’ve Never Done Before: Surely there’s some place nearby that your family has simply run out of time to visit or hasn’t visited in so many years that revisiting it will feel like a new experience. Whether an amusement or water park, petting zoo, fruit picking farm, or aquarium, many are sure be to just a hop, skip, or jump away. Pack up some lunches & the kids and hit the road!

Trying new things together as a family is always an adventure. Reap the benefits of being a tourist in your own state as you unplug, unwind, and enjoy each other’s company this summer. Remember it is about the experience, and not so much the place or the cost.

Have a great summer!

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