Playcations (Staycations) for families - picture in front of a road sign

Why is it Important to Go on Day Trips, Playcations, Staycations, and Vacations with Our Children?


There is no time like family time! Sometimes we begin to feel that the only way to spend valuable time outside the house with our kids is to go somewhere and spend a lot of money. (Ouch!) This page has a few ‘playcation’ ideas to help you reap the rewards of family time spent out of the house (and will hopefully not be too hard on the ol’ wallet).


Spending quality play time with our kids helps build resiliency, creates bonds, vital family memories, and is full of learning moments. As well, children who have parents who are active in their lives are more likely to have less stress, do better in school, and have fewer behavioural issues.


So whether it is a few stolen hours out of the house on a weekend or evening, a full on staycation, or as I like to say, a PLAYcation, here are some ideas to get you out of the house and chillin’ with the kids.




These playcation (out of the house) activities are only the beginning. There are more activities on the It’s All Kid’s Play blog as well as Pinterest. And sometimes I share ideas on Twitter, too! Oh! And be sure to check out the book I wrote, too. It includes even more travel games as well as over 1,000 other play activities so no matter where you are and what your interests or age, there is something in there for you–guaranteed! Check it out!


Farmer’s Market
Trade Show

Trade shows usually have a theme–see if you can find one that appeals to the whole family. Just think… free stickers, samples, contests, and sometimes even kid areas like petting zoos!

Go for Ice-Cream or Some Other Treat

Sure, you may have ice cream at home, but sometimes riding your bike to the local cone place is worth the effort in terms of fun, memories, and getting together.


I do love a good Children’s Festival. And street festivals. And music festivals. And food festivals… and pretty much anything with the word “festival” in the name!


Great for children of all ages–and yes, I’m talking to you adults too. Aren’t you just big kids anyway?

'Big' Golf Course

Are you big enough to play golf for “real?” Take the whole family and see who gets the most use out of their ball. I always get my money’s worth by hitting the ball as much as I can. 😉

Bonus points: Walk and don’t take a golf cart.

A Play or Other Dramatic Performance

Go see a play! A musical! Improv!

It doesn’t have to be a professional production, your could go see a church play, a puppet show, a school play, a college play, an outdoor play, a talent contest, kids comedy, the neighbour’s kids…

Theme Park / Amusement Park 
Indoor Climbing Wall

What do you think? Will those little tree climbers of yours rock the wall, or will you show them a thing or two? Climbing walls also provide lessons and gear.


Petting ZooCheck local zoos too! There may be someone with their own private petting zoo that allows guests. They may charge a fee, but it will likely be less than a big city zoo, plus you might be able to pet some of the animals!



Explore: Take a Bus/Subway/Train to Somewhere New

Explore: Beginning of the Alaska HighwayDon’t be silly–take an adult with you! Remember: Safety First!

Be curious! You can go near or far in your exploration expedition. Or as Winnie-the-Pooh says, “Exposition.”



Go to an Auction

Listen the auctioneer go! Man can they talk fast! And look at all the crazy stuff for sale! Try to guess who buys what and how much they’ll pay. Or, you know, bid on the odd thing yourself.

Day Camps, Sleep Away Camps & Summer Camps, too!

There are camps for kids that last only a few hours, to camps that last a months! Many towns/cities have a ‘camp’ or organized activity for kids on days when there is no school. But what about Art Camp? Music Camp? Hockey Camp? Summer Camp? Bible Camp? Girl Guides Camp?

Outdoor Maze

This can be a corn maze, a hedge maze, or any kind of maze! Don’t get too lost!

Go to a Garage Sale/Yard Sale

Make it an adventure. Play some Yard Sale games!

1. Always-Always See: See what things you always-always see in garage sales. Is lamps? Old exercise equipment? Bent forks?

2. Yard Sale Scavenger Hunt: Ahead of time make a list of things you want to try and find–you don’t have to buy them, just look–see if you can find all the items on your list.

3. Spend it: Take $5 or $10 and try to spend it. Can you find anything?

4. Search and Spend Challenge: Try and find something specific—like in a scavenger hunt. Everyone gets $2 (or whatever you think would be good) and you have to find a specific thing–like a funny looking hat for $2 or less. See who can find their funniest hat.

Story Time at the Library or Bookstore

Phone ahead to see when story time is held and if you need to register.

Go for a Nature Walk Along a Planned Nature Walk or at a Nature Centre

Some nature areas have planned walks along trails and even include guides that point interesting things out as you walk. It can give your walk purpose as well as make it a fun, meaningful learning experience. I know I learn things a lot better if I can touch and see them.


It’s not a walk if you make it challenging–it becomes a hike! How about up a mountain, hill, or somewhere more challenging?

Watch Construction

Safety First: Make sure you stay behind the fence around the construction area and stay out of the way of machines—constructions sites can be dangerous and they are not for playing in.

Window Shopping

Window shopping is when you go and look in the windows of stores—but you don’t go in and you don’t buy anything. Just look at the interesting things they’ve put on display in the windows as well as their nice decorations. (Window Shopping at bazaars are particularly interesting.)

Go to the Library

Take a look around. Libraries often have events for youngsters that are free or cheap (you may need a membership). As well, they have magazines, ebooks, computers, music, stories on CD/mp3, and lots of books! (If you have a library membership, you are set to borrow items, otherwise you will need a membership.) If you can’t find what you want or need ask a librarian to help you out! They loooove helping people!

People Watching

This one is good for passing time if you are waiting somewhere for your parents. You can people watch anywhere you can find people (it might be out your front window, your school, just down the street, or at the mall).

Look at the people. Make up stories of how couples met. Look at what people are wearing. What do they do for a living? Are they kind or not? (It is ok to be silly—Hey! Look at that couple that met at the circus who live at the North Pole, eat only broccoli and used to work as elves for Santa.

Motocross Events
Crash Up Derbies
Stock Car Races
Monster Truck Rallies
Tractor Pulls
Sports Day or Other Town Event

Towns and cities often have their own summer events like a Sports Day, Town Anniversary, Rodeo, or other big event that goes on for a few days, is to honour the town or country and often has parades!

Visit Animals in the Pet Store, Animal Shelter or Humane Society

If you are anything like me–be careful–you just might come home with a little critter!

Visit a Museum

Did you know there are children’s museums that are made for kids and allow kids to touch, touch, touch? They are great fun for kids and perfect on a cold, dreary day.

Visit an Art Gallery
Horseback Riding
Laser Tag


Looking for more? Try these places as well:

+ More Out and About Activities Home

+ More Out and About Activities From the Blog

+ More on Pinterest

Might I also suggest this time-saver…

Get the Book: 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas for families and kids.

Never be bored again! All of this website’s great content and MORE!

Affordably available in ebook from these online retailers:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
Barnes and Noble

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