Staycation Series, Part 3: Home Sweet Home

Welcome to the summer of the staycation, we'll be breaking down some great tips on how to get away from it all without—well, really getting far away! In the last part of our series we're showing you how to transform your casa into an oasis.

First things first! You’re on vacation, which means there should be no obsessive checking of voice mail and email. Unplug and just relax! You have to treat this experience just as you would if you were traveling to fully enjoy the benefits of your staycation. That also means making plans! Make sure you don’t get stuck in front of the TV in lazy mode. Check out our fun tips on how to transform your house into an exciting adventure:

1. Camp out in your backyard!

Break out your old camping gear, tents, sleeping bags and create a camp ground in your backyard. Camping out can be a wonderfully romantic way to bond with your partner or a fun activity the kids will love! To add an educational element, make a starfinder and try to find as many constellations up in the night sky as possible. Or you can just grab some marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate to whip up some delicious s'mores.

2. Have an Iron Chef style culinary contest in your kitchen!

Grab a cook book and head to the market to buy the freshest produce you can get your hands on. Challenge yourself to make an exciting new dish you’ve never tried before from a country you’ve never visited! To get the kids involved, try grabbing a cook book geared towards teaching children, like Handstand Kids Cookbooks which come complete with cute outfits they can don to feel like professional chefs. Taste everything when you are done and award the chef of the yummiest dish first dibs on dessert.

3. Transform your backyard into a water wonderland!

Grab the Slip & Slide, sprinklers and the hose if you don’t have a pool (or in addition to) and spend a lazy day lounging outside, cooling off whenever it gets to hot! Bonus points if you stock up on the Super Soakers and join in on a competitive game of Assassins, though this can get serious! Check out to get in on the psuedo hitman action.

4. Stage a mini-Olympics for your family!

Stock up on backyard games like horseshoes, wiffle ball and badminton. Get the neighborhood kids together and let them play it out to determine who the winner of the 2008 Backyard Olympics will be! Repeating every four years optional.

5. Go on a nature tour of your neighborhood.

Buy a book of local wildlife flora & fauna and take a long walk around your neighborhood. Try to find as many of the local animals and flowers as you can. Be sure to bring binoculars to identify birds high up in trees! For extra fun, add your own wildlife commentary. Check out for pointers on how to get started. 

6. Flex your green thumb

Been thinking about planting flowers or veggies in your yard lately? This is the time to do it! Head to the local gardening center in your town and stock up on perennials or vegetables that will grow well in the climate you live in so that you don't have to re-plant every season. This is a great chance to teach children about food and plants as well!