Dad and kids playing in a backyard with a tent in the background

The Best Backyard Staycation Ideas

We have all been in quarantine for weeks now. It’s time to be creative and has some fun at home together. Now the weather is getting warmer and we are all ready to head outside. So, let’s think of some fun backyard staycation ideas for your family.

Little girl jumping through a sprinkler in a backyard.

Since we are all doing our part social distancing and staying at home to stay safe we need to stay busy at home. Staycations are the perfect way to spend the day or two.

If it’s still too cold to go out or you live in a condo, there are many great staycation ideas for kids at home and inside. Maybe you are on a tight budget and can’t travel abroad. Staycations make for a great way to escape from the realities of the world.

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Pinterest image of a family in a backyard having a picnic and relaxing with text that says fun backyard staycation ideas.

Preparing for your backyard staycation

Everyone knows that everything is better with expert planning. So to back your backyard staycation amazing, you need to plan too. After you decide on a theme or activity below, buy the things you need to make the activity memorable. The best way to make any staycation awesome is to go all out. The more you have invested in your staycation, the more fun you’ll have! For more great tips on preparing your backyard staycation to check out Million Miler Mom’s post on Getting your backyard staycation ready here.

Play on a water blob

It’s only spring so a lot of places it is not warm enough for a pool, water park or even running through the sprinklers. But don’t worry, you can still play on a water blob! What is a water blob? Well, let us show you. These are super easy to build and tons of fun to play on.

Large blue water blob with purple plastic flowers inside it. Photo credit, Kent Heartstrings.
Photo credit: Kent Heartstrings

You will need a few things to build your water blob:

Optional items, these make the water blob fun for kids to explore. Adding sparkles and food coloring makes the blob a ton of fun. You can also add some small toys for your kids to do an “I spy” while they play on the blob.

How to make a water blob

A water blob is pretty simple to make. You can do it 2 ways. You can use duct tape all around the edges. Or the recommended method is to iron the edges shut so to create a nice seal. Watch the video below for more instructions.

Make some water pinatas

Traditional pinatas are made of cardboard and filled with candy. But let’s mix it up and fill water balloons to use as pinatas. Hang the water balloons from trees or monkey bars. Then have your kids take turns hitting the balloons with sticks until they pop.

Colorful water balloons hanging from a tree to show water balloon pintatas.

This is a great way to get engird out and cool off during a hot summer day. You just need some water balloons, string, and a stick for this staycation. This is a super easy idea that will keep your kids entertained for hours.

Camping

The first great staycation idea is to do camping at home. You can do this in your back yard or if you don’t have a backyard you can even camp inside your house. Setting up a tent transforms your backyard or living room into a campsite in the local national park. You will be amazed at how your kids will feel like they have been transported to another place than their own house. Their imaginations are incredible what they will envision, can you?

Mom and dad with two kids playing in the backyard with a tent set up for backyard camping.
Photo credit: HGTV

Turn your backyard into the perfect campsite. Pull out your tent and set it up in your backyard. If you don’t have a tent, you can easily order one on Amazon and have it delivered right to your door! Here is a great 2 person tent or if you need more space, here is the perfect size for a family of 4.

Bring out the sleeping bags and get the inside of your tent all ready for the night. Set everything up now so you’re aren’t fumbling in the dark when it’s time to go to sleep.

Once you have your tent set up, finish setting up your campsite. Set up a picnic table and have a picnic for lunch. Enjoy the outdoor, set up camping chairs and soak up the sun after you have lunch. I love these camping chairs as they are shorter and smaller to pack up and store or pack in the car.

Get out and Hike

Take a “hike”. You can take a hike around your neighborhood or you can go for a hike if you have a trail close by your home. Spend the afternoon in nature even if that just means your backyard.

As the aftenoon ends it will be time to start a fire for the evening. Don’t ruin your grass, purchase one of these fire pits on Amazon and it will work great great. You can cook your dinner on the fire for a real camping experience.

You can roast hot dogs or you could try some tin foil or “hobo” dinners in the fire. Check out these yummy tin foil dinner ideas.

No camping trip would be complete without the American tradition of roasting s’mores over a hot fire. Grab some marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate. If you don’t want to have a big fire, you can also buy one of these AWESOME electric smores makers. This can be used inside or outside. The kids will remember this for the best camping and staycation ever!

After your campfire, enjoy the night sky and do some star searching before you head into your tent for the night. Use a telescope to identify stars and constellations. Telescopes can be super expensive but here is a great starter one for kids or beginners.

Dark night sky with lots of white stars in the sky, pine trees at the bottom of the image.
Photo credit: Science News

Olympics Games

It’s time to have some game fun! You could easily combine the Olympics with a camping staycation. Plan some games for your family. Keep track and hand out medals at the end of each event.

5 kids smiling and holding an Olympic flag and small flags from different countries.
Photo credit: Parents.com

Make some DIY olympic signs before you begin your day. Or buy one on Amazon. Give each person a “country” that they will representing and let the games begin.

Try your hand at some track and field events. Set up some short sprints like a 100-meter race. Turn your backyard into an Olympic field. Set up a long jump, make some hurdles, and long-distance runs like an 800 meter, around the block.

You can also be creative and try some other games for your olympics. Here are a few other ideas for backyard games:

  • Ring toss with recycled bottles
  • Water balloon catch~ break into teams and see who can keep the water in their balloon the longest.
  • Kan Jam is a relatively new game that has taken New York by storm and is quickly spreading all over. To play you need one Frisbee, or disc, that gets thrown into a garbage-can sized container. The goal is to score the most points by getting your disc into the correct container. If the disc is thrown directly into a special slot on the side of the container, your team is an instant winner. (credit: Care.com)
  • Capture the flag
  • Bean bag toss

Water Park

What’s the best part of having a family on a hot summer day? That’s right, a trip to the water park. There’s nothing quite like running from the splash pad to the water slide as a kid. The sun-kissed cheeks and sunburned shoulders. How about this backyard staycation idea, turn your backyard into a “mini waterpark.”

Baby in a watermelon swimming suit playing in a water fountain.

As long as it is warm enough, you can easily turn your backyard into a mini water park for hours of fun. Water slides, splash pads, and swimming pools can all be easily put together. Be the envy of the neighborhood or at least have your kids like you for a day with this amazing back yard water slide and an inflatable bounce house.

The best part about having your own “mini water park” is that you can avoid all the crowds and if we’re still on quarantine lockdown you can still go to your own water park. And if the lockdown is over, then you have the backyard that all the kids will be coming to for the summer.

Here is a DIY splash pad that you can make out of PVC pipe.

Outdoor oversized games

Imagine yourself as a kid again and thinking of how BIG the entire world seamed. I remember in Junior High School in gym class they pulled out the oversized beach ball for gym class.

We took the giant ball to the field and I remember the beach ball being tossed up and then crashing down on top of me. I remember laughing and laughing. It was such a fun time. Recreating something from my childhood for my kids is an experience that I love to share with them.

Life sized Jenga and two girls playing the game.
Giant Jenga

Some of the most fun backyard staycation ideas are playing with oversized toys. Even as adults we find enjoyment acting like big kids from time to time. Here are some of the top oversize games that you can use for your backyard staycation ideas but have for summers to come.

Life sized checkers in a backyard fun backyard staycation ideas.

Outdoor movie night

There is something to be said about watching a movie sitting under the stars. There is something old school yet exciting about the entire idea of spreading out and cuddling up under a blanket to watch a movie with the family.

Brands images of streaming services to show different ways to host a movie night in your backyard.

The two main things that go into making an outdoor movie a success is first, choosing the right movie. Second, creating the right “theater” or ambiance. There are so many options now to access a movie. Checkout Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, or Redbox for some of the latest releases.

Setting the Ambiance

Arrange Comfortable Seating – Grab all the pillows and blankets that you can find in the house. Layout the blankest on the grass and line the area with pillows for comfortable seating. Use the camping chairs for those that need to rest their back.

Mom and two daughters covered in blankets laying on pillows sleeping in a backyard.

Movie Themed Snacks. My kids love going to the movies because they know they can get popcorn and other snacks. If we do a movie night at home, it’s only a matter of time until they ask for a snack.

Let’s continue with making the movie night epic, but make it easy. Here is a movie night kit with all the goodies, including a gift certificate to Dominos for Pizza.

Setting up the Movie Screen and Projector

Setting up the screen might seem complicated or intimidating but here is what you will need.
– A white Sheet or you can get a projection screen for around $30.
– Laptop to stream or download the movie
Rope to hang the “Screen” Sheet
– Portable Speaker – I love my JBL wireless speaker
– An Extension Cord with multiple plugs
– Most important the Projector

Once you have the equipment for the back yard movie and the social distancing rules relax from the coronavirus you could even do a neighborhood movie night. Invite the neighborhood kids and have them all bring their pillows and blankets to join in the fun.

If this is something you think you’d like to do on a regular basis, you should consider getting a blow-up screen that will make set up a breeze and it makes for an epic outdoor movie night.

Backyard movie night final touches

The glitz and glamour of a Hollywood premiere start on the red carpet, but not to be outdone with the glitzy lights. Lay a red carpet leading to the entrance of the seating area. Amazon has an option for about $10. Decorate the back yard with some ambient lighting.

Movie screen outside with overhead landscaping lights and kids laying on a blanket watching the movie.

There are now tons of fun LED and energy-efficient lights that will enhance your backyard staycation ideas experience and just enhance your backyard for summer evenings.

Take on a family DIY project

If you are handy and have the resources, it’s a great idea to take on a DIY project together. Maybe it’s time to take on that treehouse your kids have been begging for. Or you can build a playhouse. Possibly take on something small like planter boxes or an outdoor game.

Whatever project you choose, involve the whole family. Spend time building things together. It is the perfect way to really be together. Your kids will learn some new skills that they can use for their whole lifetime.

A fun playhouse idea

You could also build your own giant outdoor game to play like in the ideas above. Think giant dice or Jenga. You may even have enough scrap wood laying around for one of these projects.

Easy Giant Jenga

Photo scavenger hunt

A really fun idea is to do a digital photo scavenger hunt around the yard. This is just like a traditional scavenger hunt. You will break into teams and try to find things around your yard/neighborhood.

Two kids holding cameras pointed at the camera.
  1. Give each team phone or digital camera.
  2. The teams go different ways and take pictures of things for the scavenger hunt.
  3. Then they swap phones/cameras and try to find everything in the photos. The first team to find everything correctly wins.

You can also play this with friends who aren’t in the same house. You can text the pictures to friends and see if they can find the same thing in their backyards. It’s a great way to stay connected when you are apart.

Wrap up on the best backyard staycation ideas

It’s always a good idea to get outside and play. Use these ideas to have some fun at home. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to host ta great staycation. Plan a day and spend it in your backyard enjoying your time.

If you’re ready to travel, check out this awesome list of the top destinations.

Pinterest image for top destinations to visit in 2020 

FAQs about Backyard Staycations

How do I make my backyard like a resort?

Backyards can become your own resort at home. To make your backyard like a resort, add features that you love. Once your backyard is more like a resort, you can have a staycation there every day. Here are a few ideas to make your backyard more like a resort:
1. Put in a water feature. Small or large, adding water to your backyard will make it a more relaxing place.
2. Hang a hammock in a tree or on your porch.
3. Create a place for kids to play. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, even a small sand box will entertain kids for hours.
4. Turn your backyard into an outdoor kitchen oasis.
5. Hang outdoor lights overhead and around your yard. Set the mood with the right lighting!

What is a staycation?

A staycation is celebrating by spending time at home like you are on vacation. Typically for a staycation, you will plan activities at home that focus on relaxing and having fun. When you have a staycation, you don’t do your normal routines even though you are home. You put all chores and daily tasks aside and have fun at home!

How can I make a vacation at home?

Here are some tips to make a vacation at home awesome:
1. Plan your day.
2. Purchase things that you need to make your day amazing. Go all in, turn your home into a vacation spot.
3. Break your routines. Do not do any of your daily routines. Focus on relaxing and having fun at home.
4. Turn your home into an oasis with a theme of your choice.
5. Cook different foods or order in. Just like on vacation, try new foods.
6. Spend time with family and friends at home.

How can I pretend to go on vacation?

The most important thing you can do to pretend that you are on a vacation is to set the mood and theme. Here are some other tips:
1. Pick a theme. This can be anything like a trip to Paris or a spa day.
2. Turn your home into the theme. Set the mood and decorate your home to match your theme. This will make it feel like you are really on vacation.
3. Break your normal routines. Put your chores aside for the day.
4. Do fun activities that focus on your theme. Such as cook different foods, play new games, and take lots of pictures!
5. Focus on relaxing and having fun. Make sure to take the day off work.

Comments

Chelsea
April 18, 2020 at 3:07 am

I love that you have focused this on being outdoors! there is so Many staycations ideas around at the moment that are indoors so this is great!
I love outdoor oversized games, they are so fun!
The movie night also looks amazing! My condo building often does these in the summer and they are great!



April 18, 2020 at 2:18 pm

All great suggestions, and resources provided to stay engaged and have fun! I especially liked the DIY and photo scavenger hunt ideas.



April 18, 2020 at 2:28 pm

These are such great ideas!! Since we are all stuck at home right now, we all really need the fun in our lives. Looks like y’all are having a blast!



April 18, 2020 at 4:17 pm

I love it!!! We have been doing movie night at our backyard every Saturday night and it is the highlight of our week. Something so simple, and such great ways to connect with the family. Kids will have fun does’t matter what, and I love to see how creative you are. Amazing work!



April 18, 2020 at 5:41 pm

I love these ideas! We’ve had fun being creative with our time. Adding these to the roster, thanks! 🙂



April 18, 2020 at 5:50 pm

Lovely post and what great ideas! If only I had a garden…



Carryn
April 18, 2020 at 11:55 pm

These are all such great ideas – my parents actually went camping in their back yard the other day!



Dori Kennedy
April 23, 2020 at 5:27 pm

Such great ideas we’ll need to try. I especially love the water pinatas.



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