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Family Matters: Summer Staycations

Saturday, August 04, 2012

 

Some of the best summer fun can be had close to home. Plan some staycation outings for August. Photo: Mood Board Photography.

Staycations have become a fashionable necessity during these days of higher gas prices and reduced work weeks, unemployment, or the fear of losing a job. For many, the idea of a pricey vacation is simply out of the question and for others this may be a preferred way to explore your community. Enjoy this list of ideas I originally wrote for the Kidoinfo Staycation Guide.

To beat the heat or get out of the rain

Museums, observatories, planetariums, zoos, and aquariums. You may already have a favorite zoo or museum but for staycation fun, visit someplace new or revisit the familiar by starting at a different entrance or exhibit to see things you typically miss. Some places also offer sleepovers or special tours. Check if the venue has reduced entrance fees one day a week or a reciprocal arrangement with a place where you already hold a membership (e.g., one zoo membership may allow you into other zoos for free). Libraries often have free or discount passes to a number of local venues, the Worcester Public Library among them.  
Bonus Activity: Have kids keep a log of all the venues you visit, listing their favorite thing they did or saw.

Mini-adventures close to home

Plan a hike with your kids. Start at the local nature center to gather maps of local trails. Central Massachusetts has a wealth of hiking and walking trails you can enjoy. These trails are free and open to the public and offer trails of different lengths and levels.Local parks also provide many places to explore. One of our favorite ways to explore nature is to go letterboxing or geocaching, activities that combines the elements of hiking and treasure hunting.
Bonus Activity 1: Make/Design your own letterbox.
Bonus Activity 2: Play backyard bingo

How to be tourists in your own state

Although kids may go on tours as part of a school field trip, you may be able to arrange a special outing for your family or for your playgroup friends to get a behind-the-scenes look at a local business. Call ahead to find out if the business is willing to give you a tour and make arrangements. Tours ideas include: fire stations, police stations,

movie theaters, television, radio stations, or newspaper facilities, ice cream shops, sports stadiums and farms.
Bonus Activity: Send a thank-you card. Have your kids draw, write, or include a picture of their favorite part of the tour.

Anisa Raoof is the publisher and founder of Kidoinfo, the parents' guide for Rhode Island and beyond.

 

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