27 Ideas for Planning a Successful Summer Staycation

Sun’s out, fun’s out! Splash into summer with this ultimate list of staycation ideas created by the Scout Elves, who are experts at creating fun right in your home! From backyard adventures and indoor entertainment to touring the town, these staycation ideas make it easy for you to create summer fun for little ones right where you are! Click the buttons below to view the elves’ themed stay-at-home vacation ideas.

Blue background with clouds and sun

Green background with window and shutters

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Backyard Adventures

  1. Bring the beach to your backyard. Buy two kiddie pools, and fill one with sand and the other with water to set up your own backyard beach oasis.

    Two elves laying on beach blanket

  2. Create an archaeological dig. Hide small objects in dirt or sand, and let kids use tools to retrieve them. How many items will your little ones find?
  3. Have a picnic. Let kids help you pack a picnic basket with all your family’s favorite foods. Spread out blankets, and enjoy an afternoon together relaxing under the sun.
  4. Host a campout or glampout. Roast hotdogs and s’mores over a backyard campfire or indoors over the stove before heading off to sleep in a tent under the stars.

    Two elves camping with tent and roasting marshmallows

  5. Play a game. Set up a backyard volleyball or badminton net, and break into teams to face off. Which team will be crowned the winner? You could also ditch the classics, and create your own new game to play together.
  6. Plant beautiful blooms. Teach kids to garden by showing them how to plant flowers or trees to liven up your backyard. You could even spruce up your space using one of the Scout Elves’ favorite DIY crafts: seed bombs!
  7. Host a cookout. Don’t wait for a special occasion to fire up the grill. Pair your favorite foods with other fun food items liked grilled fruit kabobs. Try grilling pineapple and peaches to bring a unique twist to a classic cookout!

    Two elves with mini burgers and hot dogs

  8. Go on a backyard treasure hunt. Challenge kids to find 10 items out back. A budding flower or a small critter in the grass—how many items are waiting to be discovered?
  9. Tie dye t-shirts. Set up craft time, and let little ones tie dye a t-shirt or two. Admire everyone’s creativity after the t-shirts dry, since no tie dye shirt is the same!

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Indoor Entertainment

  1. Pop the popcorn. It’s time for a movie marathon. Pick at least three of your family’s favorite films, and settle in for a lazy afternoon watching movies.

    Four elves with 3D glasses and popcorn

  2. Break out the board games. Get ready to engage in friendly competition. Pull out all your favorite board games, and don’t forget to enforce any special house rules your family has created!
  3. Set up a tea party. Make decadent desserts and brew delicious cups of tea, or any drinks that fit your fancy, before enjoying a relaxing afternoon around the table.
  4. Let kids become a chef for the day. Help kids pick out ten ingredients and ask them to write down a unique, wacky or totally delicious recipe using only those items. Then, follow their instructions to bring their recipe to life!

    Two elves with mini pizza

  5. Build a fort. Pull out all the extra sheets, pillows and blankets, and build an awesome living room fort. For added fun, turn this into a slumber party and movie night. Whose fort will stay intact the longest?
  6. Play hide-and-seek. Challenge each other to a classic game of hide-and-seek. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … Ready or not, here I come! Don’t leave any nook or cranny unsearched!
  7. Create a bowling lane. Bring the bowling alley to your home by using empty soda bottles or milk jugs as bowling pins and a tennis ball for a bowling ball to make your own in-home bowling lane.

    Three elves bowling

  8. Become an artist. Gather blank paper or canvases and let little ones get messy during a finger-painting session. For extra fun, dress up like famous artists, paint-stained overalls included! Once your artwork is dry, set up your own art gallery to display the beautiful pieces you’ve created.
  9. Play “I spy!” Explore your home by playing this classic game. Who can spy the most obscure items that you all forgot were still there?

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Tour the Town

Due to ongoing closures, event cancellations and/or rules and regulations regarding businesses reopening during COVID-19, always call ahead to confirm whether businesses are open and, if they are open, the hours of operation and social distancing protocols. The Scout Elves recognize that some of the ideas below may not be possible. Where applicable, they provided alternative suggestions.

  1. Visit a park. Gather the soccer balls, frisbees and footballs, and head to the park. If there’s a nice breeze, you could also try flying a kite! Pack a light picnic to enjoy, or walk to a nearby ice cream shop for dessert.

    Elf in window flying a kite

  2. Go on a hike. Find a nature trail near you, and spend the afternoon hiking. Don’t forget to take frequent breaks to enjoy the beautiful scenery!
  3. Take your family out to the ballgame. Head into town to cheer on your hometown team, or visit a major league team at the ballpark. While you’re there, you might as well splurge on popcorn and peanuts! Ballpark closed? Watch reruns of your favorite team playing or start your own backyard baseball game.
  4. Spend a quiet afternoon at a museum. Pick a museum that suits your interests, and spend time learning about old artifacts, historical figures or beautiful artwork! Check online to see if local museums are hosting online tours or classes for kids.

    Two elves sitting in front of nighttime painting

  5. Visit a local farmer’s market. Let little ones admire the colorful fruit and vegetable displays, and then choose a variety of yummy local treats to take home to try. Kids can always play pretend at home, running the cash register while you purchase items from the pantry!
  6. Take a trip to the zoo or aquarium. Learn fascinating facts about the land animals and sea creatures that interest your little ones at the local zoo or aquarium. Before you go, check online for any special events or opportunities, like feeding the animals! Not able to go to your local aquarium or zoo just yet? Play pretend with stuffed animals and encourage little ones to lead you through a tour of their own zoo. Additionally, check online to see if your local zoo or aquarium is hosting live cams for kids to observe.
  7. Go fishing. Break out the fishing poles, and load up on the lure. See what you can catch at a local lake or river! Who will reel in the biggest fish?

    Elf with fishing pole dipped in blue fishbowl

  8. Go kayaking. Head out to the lake for a fun afternoon on the water! Turn this into a friendly competition by seeing who can kayak back to shore the quickest.
  9. Ride a rollercoaster. For your littlest thrill seekers and daredevils, spend the day at an amusement park loading up on cotton candy and riding the tallest rollercoasters! Create your own backyard amusement park by setting up a challenging obstacle course for the family to complete.

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Create refreshing summer recipes to have on hand while partaking in your staycation!