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Make it a staycation─6 budget-friendly family activities

As families spend more time together at home, consider planning your own “staycation.” You will stay safe, stay on budget, and still give your kids a fun vacation experience. Here are 6 activities that are entertaining for children and adults alike—and are all inexpensive or free.

1. Stay in entertainment

Ready. Set. Action. Create a theater-like atmosphere and drape sheets or blankets over tables and chairs. Act out stories from books, read or recite poems, sing karaoke, dance, or for young children stage a play with DIY puppets made from items around the house like socks, buttons, and stuffed animals If you or your teens are technology savvy, use your phone to make a “day-in-the-life” documentary of your family or write a short script, film it and hold a movie premier in your living room.

2. Hold a backyard decathlon

Put your imagination to work. Set up an obstacle course in your backyard. See who can do the most sit-ups, push-ups, leg lifts, and jumping jacks in a minute, and race around the yard. Make award certificates for the winners and let whoever wins the most competitions choose which dessert to make after dinner. If you have a mix of older and younger kids, create some events that they’ll do well in, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

3. Get creative with arts and crafts

Look for craft materials around the house and search Pinterest for DYI craft ideas. For example, search "empty soda can" to find ideas for jewelry, coasters, and art sculptures. Or, draw caricatures of each other, or pictures of your favorite family vacation. Create tie-dyed T-shirts. Make a year's worth of personalized birthday or holiday cards. For added fun, you could tap into your kid’s competitive spirit and create teams to create something together.

4. Use your library’s digital capabilities.

Most local libraries offer so much more than just books. You can download eBooks and audible books from home. Visit to your local library’s website and discover what’s available for all ages.

5. Cookie or Cake Decorating Contest

You don’t have to spend a lot to have a lot of fun. Raid your pantry for cake mixes, frosting, candy pieces, food coloring, and more. Create cookies or cupcakes to decorate and have a contest for different categories–best decoration, best use of candy, or funniest decoration. Best of all, you can eat the trophies.

6. Camp in the backyard

Camping doesn't have to be done far from home. You can have fun right in your own backyard. Pitch a tent, pack some snacks, and sleep under the stars. Small firepits are relatively inexpensive and there’s nothing like roasting hot dogs or marshmallows over the fire. Take turns telling funny or scary stories around the fire to complete the camping experience.

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