Stay-cation Ideas

Stay-cation Ideas

You’ve got a week off from work but not enough money to travel somewhere with the kids.  DON’T STRESS!  As a single mom, I was only able to save up to take my kids on a vacation once.  If you can call it a real vacation…I’m not sure.  I booked a nice room at the Gaylord Texan with an interior balcony.  It was the most beautiful hotel we had ever been in.  There’s a flowing river throughout the inside center of the hotel, with trees, flowers, hidden stairs, patio restaurants along the river, a huge pool, lots of kids activities.  So I took them there for a one night stay, we went swimming, enjoyed eating on the patio and we ordered room service pizza and desserts and watched movies all night.  Unfortunately, our home was robbed about a month later and the videos from that fun night were stolen along with my video camera.  But we were thankful that the thieves missed my camera so I at least have some of those pictures to keep for memories.

As fun as that was, it was so stinkin’ expensive and it was for only one night!!  The majority of our vacations were spent at home and it was filled with some really great and fun memories!  You just have to get creative and prepare ahead of time.  I wish Groupon was around back then.  It allows you the opportunity to purchase fun activities six months to a year in advance!  That’s awesome when you’re a mom with kiddos living on a tight budget.  It wasn’t around 10 years ago so I really had to prepare early, purchase tickets in advance and come up with some creative and fun activities at home.

So here’s the list.  Do with it as you please…tweek it, add to it….just get your creative juices flowing!  Just keep it fun and simple and save a bunch of money while making some magical memories with your little humans!

  • buy each of the kids their own disposable camera to capture shots during your stay-cation then have them help you turn it into a memorable scrap book
  • turn your bathroom into a spa complete with pedicures, manicures, facials, etc
  • make you own body scrubs and perfumes (see recipe)
  • build a fire pit (or use your fireplace) to make Smores and roast hot dogs
  • camp in the backyard
  • have a “camp in” inside the living room
  • have a picnic in the park with lots of goodies and games to play
  • create a lemonade stand
  • make forts out of blankets and couch cushions and have a slumber party in them
  • movie night with popcorn, candy, treats (things you’d find at the theatre)
  • board games and card games
  • Lego building contest
  • create a mini carnival – ring toss on bottles, knock cans over by rolling a ball, etc
  • driveway chalk drawings
  • make your own play dough (see recipe)
  • make homemade cards and save for an upcoming holiday
  • make your own shrinky dinks (see recipe)
  • make your own pizza night with different toppings in bowls for the kids to build their own
  • tour a police station, fire station – ask to see the inside of a police car and fire truck
  • tour a movie theatre projection room
  • bakery – pretend you’re a bakery and create lots of yummy treats and deliver to special friends/family
  • state parks
  • nature hikes – collect leaves and flowers to press in a frame
  • create a scavenger hunt for the kids at home or at a park
  • zoo – check website for discount days and local coupons
  • swimming and water parks – look for coupons first
  • museums, planetariums, aquariums
  • scenic train rides
  • city festivals
  • mini golf, go carts
  • laser tag
  • plays and musicals

What would you add to the list?


Recipe:  Body Scrub (check the web and pinterest for lots of different recipes)

Candy Cane Brown Sugar Scrub


  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup almond oil
  • 6 drops peppermint oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:  Combine all ingredients, mix well.  Store in a recycled jar saved from your kitchen.  Apply to your body and massage into the skin.  Then rinse off with warm water.

Recipe: Play Dough (lots of recipes on the web and pinterest)


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 T Cream of Tarter
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • food coloring
  • up to 1 1/2 cups of boiling water – add slowing until the consistency is right
  • 2-3 drops of glycerine  – this adds shine and is optional


p>Directions:  mix the flour, cream of tarter, oil and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add the boiling water slowly until the consistency looks right to you.  Stir until everything is mixed and the dough is slightly sticky.  Add your food coloring and glycerine.  Allow the dough to cool down.  Remove from the bowl and knead it for a few minutes until it is no longer sticky and it starts to feel like actual play dough.  If after a few minutes it still feels sticky, add a little bit more flour.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Recipe:  Shrinky Dinks

Google: go to and in the search field type DIY Shrinky Dinks – this is an excellent, step by step recipe!

Please share with other moms 😉