If your vacation destination is at home, let me give you staycation ideas to do with your kids with this helpful guide of resources and ideas of things to do, read, and create.
Families all over the world are stay home for many reasons — work, money, and so forth. Whatever your reason, you can still have lots of fun!
I’ve got great ideas to help make your staycation more than endless days of screentime.
Find your child’s age group to get recommendations about new and classic ideas in arts and crafts, games, books, and toys.
Plan to introduce new activities each day or half-day so you have a rotation of things that will keep your kids busy and engaged.
These ideas and activities will give your kids whether toddlers, preschoolers, elementary age, or middle schoolers, hours of exciting play and learning.
Staycation Spring Break At Home Ideas for Kids
Staycation Ideas for All Ages:
1. Learning Toys
Sago Mini Box
ages 2 – 5
Kids love to immerse themselves in stories and make-believe. This is an age when they begin to express their creativity and develop their personalities, and role-playing activities can help them develop core skills such as how to share and communicate with others. Activities like the Sago Mini Box are perfect for this. By receiving a subscription box in the post each month, each with a different activity, it can give them something to look forward to each month and take ownership of, by assembling themselves (with a little help from mum or dad!)”
HABA 3-D Arranging Arranging Creative Stones Game
Who wouldn’t want to play with these colorful, sturdy wooden blocks? Free play and build your own structures or use the template cards and solve their puzzles. This will be a long-lasting toy.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Magna-Tiles
SHOP (TARGET EXCLUSIVE)
Not only will your kids love these Eric Carle magnetic tiles, but you will as well. Why? Because there are a plethora of learning opportunities you can do with the tiles including to retell the Hungry Caterpillar story in consecutive order with the tiles! Or identify the numbers or match the numbers to the correct number set. Or, talk about colors. Or just build. These are totally incredible. If you don’t have the book, buy it here.
Melissa and Doug Pizza Play Set
Kids love this pizza kitchen toy set! High-quality wooden design with a brightly colored tray, a pizza cutter, a spatula, and a wooden box for storage, and the pizza makes “slicing” noises when cut. Great for many hours of open-ended play!
Design & Drill BrightWorks
I predict your kids will LOVE this STEM toy. It’s such a blast to use the drill (– even my husband likes playing with it.) Follow the 12 included patterns or create your own design. Insert the translucent bolts, use the kid-friendly power drill to drill them in, and watch as your illuminated creation comes to life.
Sleepy Princess Pile Up
First of all, this is so cute you’ll want to just play with it. Because dolls and small stuff are fun. The game is all about building a bed for the princess with a mattress, bedding, and pillows. But don’t let it fall or the game is over!
Guess Who? Board Game
My kids played this reasoning game from the time they were preschoolers until middle school. It’s a great dad-kid game or mom-kid game pick.
Don’t miss these other favorite game recommendations: Roll and Play, The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game, Pretty Pretty Princess, Feed the Woozle, Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco Game, Zingo: Bingo with a Zing
Hello, World! by Ethan Long
Welcome to Happy County where the charming animal characters are living their lives — at the dog park, ball park, school, town, and country. The characters are busy, busy living their lives similar to Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town. Look at all the things happening on Farmer Dell’s farm! Then maybe you can help Mr. Grizzles and Ms. Green find the birds they’re searching for. There’s so much going on in this busy community which makes this book a treasure trove with labeled objects and lovable characters.
PBS Kids Spot the Differences Around the Worlds
Compare the colorful photographs from around the world — can you spot the differences? Take this on a trip or stick it in your bag for waiting rooms and downtime. Isn’t this better than screentime? Also available is Spot the Differences Adorable Animals, which is, well, adorable. Buy both these books for your kids and I predict you’ll want to do them, too.
The Blunders: A Counting Catastrophe! by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Colin Jack
The ten Blunder kids play outside for hours but when it’s time to do a headcount, they can’t find one of the siblings. (Although we can see the problem right away!) They keep making the same mistake (not counting the person who is counting) and it’s hilarious. They count in Spanish, count backward, and count by three. It’s no use! How will they tell their mom that they lost someone? Entertaining and educational.
Goodnight, Veggies by Diana Murry and Zachariah O’Hora
Soothing rhymes and short alliterative phrases prepare kids to sleep while also introducing them to different vegetables and gardening. Eggplants, cucumbers, yams, beets, all the garden veggies are ready to sleep. Enchanting!
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
Bob just doesn’t fit in with the other rhyming dust bunnies — but that makes this book a total crack-up! Because he’s trying to warn them that there is a vacuum coming. Only his fellow Dust Bunnies just think he’s weird and can’t rhyme, ignoring his warning. Will they get vacuumed up?!
Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam Rex
4. Arts & Crafts
This is a classic gift for young children who like to draw and write. Pair with jumbo crayons or jumbo colored pencils in a cute carrying case. See more on the Best Drawing Books & Art Supplies for Kids.
Crayola Pip-Squeaks Washable Markers
This carrying case makes it easy to carry your markers anywhere. And washable markers are a must-buy arts and crafts gift for creative kids!
PBS Sticker Smart Art Colors and Shapes
Kids use the reusable, colorful geometric shapes to complete the pictures. Placing the stickers on the pages builds fine motor coordination and shape recognition. If you like this, you’ll also love the Sticker Smart Art Around the World book. More Sticker Book Ideas HERE.
Melissa and Doug Colorblast No Mess
So fun! Use the magic pens to color in the pictures and do the activities.
1. Learning Toys
Code n’ Learn Kinderbot
If you’re looking for a toy that teaches early math concepts, reasoning, problem solving, and beginning coding, check out this interactive STEM toy! Kids use the buttons to code a path, press play and watch him go. Concepts include shapes, colors, early math, following directions, and problem-solving!
ZOOB 250-Piece Set
ZOOBs are colorful snap-together plastic gears, axels, and joint pieces. They’re not electronic; they’re totally battery-free. AND WE LOVE THEM! Without a doubt, ZOOBs are one of our most-played with, favorite open-ended toys that have lasted for years of childhood!
Spot It Jr.
Fast-paced fun getting families everywhere are addicted to playing it. Each card has 6 colorful animals of different sizes for you to find the match. I promise this game will bring you hours of game play.
Robot Face Race
Scan the board quickly to match the right color face, nose, eyes, and mouth –– and you’ll win the round. A popular staycation idea for kids. See more logic and strategy games here.
Do You Like My Bike? (Hello, Hedgehog!) by Norm Feuti
Not only is this early reader written in comic panels but the dialogue is in bubbles in colors unique to the character speaking making this a supportive first graphic novel experience. Hedgehog can’t wait to show his friend Harry his new bike. Darling stories of friendship and bike riding.
Photo Puzzle Mania!
This Highlights Hidden Picture book is gorgeous — all photographs, not illustrations. Whether you’re finding the difference or finding hidden objects, there are many brain-boosting activities in this colorful book. See all Seek and Find book recommendations and activity books for ages 6 – 9.
This Is How I Do It by Matt Lamothe: One Day in the Life of YOU and 59 Real Kids from Around the World by Matt Lamothe
Compare your life to the lives and daily activities of kids around the world. Interactive and educational. For example, read what kids in Mexico, South Korea, and Great Britain then write and draw what you eat for breakfast. Play, help, clothes, transportation, and more.
The Donkey Egg by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Impressively educational while being funny, charming, and warmhearted! Fox tricks Bear to buy a so-called donkey egg. Bear takes good care of his egg before realizing it’s not an egg, it’s a watermelon which rolls away and breaks. But don’t worry! Soon Bear’s farm will be growing a new crop. Filled with fun details about the passage of time, this choice will be a great read-aloud book idea for your kids during your spring break.
Pug Blasts Off (Diary of a Pug) by Kyla May
Narrated in diary format by a lovable pug named Bub with plenty of illustrations and large sized text, we learn that Bub is afraid of water but also loves to craft just like his person, Bella. In fact, he’s going to help her invent the best craft project ever. Unfortunately, disaster strikes when a mischievous squirrel interferes.
Princess in Black Boxed Set by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Amazingly enough in the first book, this princess is able to fight monsters and have a fun birthday party — even though it keeps getting interrupted. These books celebrate girl power with a heroine who can do it all. And book gift sets like this one make great gift ideas for staycations.
Gross As A Snot Otter: The World of Weird Animals by Jess Keating, illustrated by David DeGrand
Colorful and appealing layouts plus photographs and illustrations add so much appeal that you can’t help but read this book cover to cover. This book will make your kids an expert on the grossest animals by then end of your staycation.
I Survived by Lauren Tarshis (ages 7+)
Wow– these are addicting, fast-paced adventures set during significant historical events that are perfect for elementary age kids just getting comfortable with chapter books. Kids will zip through these incredible adventures, learning history in the process. The books always are about a young person trying to survive a historically important, life-changing event such as Pompeii, the Titanic, Pearl Harbor, or the Battle of Gettysburg. See more boxed book sets for kids.
Best BEGINNING Chapter Books for 6- and 7-Year-Olds (1st & 2nd Grade),
Best Books for 7-Year-Olds (2nd Grade), and
Best Books for 8-Year-Olds (3rd Grade).
4. Arts & Crafts
Create with Clay Mythical Creatures
Create a unicorn, dragon and phoenix sculptures with this colorful clay set. I love that this kit will keep kids busy and creative during their at-home vacation time. See more craft kits for kids.
Paint By Stickers Unicorns & Magic
Use the sheets of numbered geometric stickers to match the numbered shapes and make a sticker mosaic of a mermaid, castle, fairy, and more. Find all the best sticker books for kids.
An essential staycation kit with everything you need for your arts and crafts projects with 64 crayons, 20 short pencils, 40 washable markers, and 15 sheets of paper.
What a GREAT new thinking game for kids! This one-player game will push your kids’ deductive reasoning as they read the clues, place the dogs, and solve the dog crime, a crime like eating a pillow. It’s super fun, we love it.
Tenzi is a SUPER FUN yet simple dice game that works for almost all ages which is why it’s one of our top recommendations for a family game. Be the first player to get all ten of your dice to show the same number. Full review here.
Say Cheese! Puzzle
Set out a puzzle to do during your staycation — it’s a great hand-eye, visual discrimination activity you can do with the family.
House Arrest by K.A. Holt
You’ll feel so many emotions reading this tender, heartwarming story that shows a brave boy who feels anger, fear, worry, and love over his challenging situation. Timothy is under house arrest for the next year. He lives with a brother who needs constant medical care and feels so much pain and confusion over his big life changes. Part of his year-long punishment is to meet with a probation officer, meet with a therapist, and write in a journal which is the book we’re reading. When his little brother gets assigned an abusive new nurse, Timothy feels like even if he gets thrown in juvie, he must do something drastic to help his brother.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
On her 12th birthday, Zoe, a girl who loves to bake, discovers a letter to her from her incarcerated biological father, Marcus. She decides to write him back, even daring to ask him about the murder he’s in jail for — did he really do it? Marcus writes to Zoe that he’s innocent and he can prove it which sets Zoe on a quest to find out the truth for herself, even if her mom and dad forbid it. She enlists the help of her Grandma and her best friend, Trevor. You won’t be able to put down this winsome story with a heroine you can’t help but adore; a story that illuminates social justice with themes of family, friendship, and love.
Unteachables by Gordon Korman
Star Quest: Extreme Puzzle Challenges for Clever Kids by Michael O’Mara
What an inviting, challenging space-themed puzzle book! I really love that each two-page spread has facts about the topic like Shuttle LaunchPad and the other page has the puzzle — a maze, dot-to-dot, or color by number puzzle. This book is not for young children — it’s hard! Like the dot-to-dot for Sputnik 1 goes to 538!
Lockwood & Co The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
Dangerous ghosts and spirits are appearing everywhere in London but only certain kids can see them. Teens Lucy, Anthony, and George badly need money for their ghost-hunting agency, Lockwood & Co., so they take a perilous job that, if the ghosts have their way, may just be their last. An enthralling, spooky adventure series. Boxed set here.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
This strong female princess named Cimorene doesn’t want to be a damsel in distress princess so she leaves her home to apprentice herself to a dragon. For fun. No rescuing involved, thank you very much. Once there, she gets the opportunity to save her dragon from a nasty group of wizards. We LOVE and highly recommend this girl-power series. Box set here.
Find more books:
3. Arts & Crafts
How to Draw a Mermaid and Other Cute Creatures with Simple Shapes in 5 Steps by Lulu Mayo
This staycation idea for kids is NEW from the author How to Draw a Unicorn, Lulu Mayo! Easy, step by step directions show us how to draw a dragon, narwhal, avocado boy, ninja, sushi, turtle, and more. Perfect for kids who want to improve their doodle and drawing skills. My daughters LOVE her easy directions and adorable style. Find more drawing books for kids here.
CreatED Writing Art-Inspired Stories by Crayola
SHOP (Crayola exclusive)
These art supplies are a great option for a staycation activity for kids! Open the box and you’ll find model magic packs, colored pencils, oil pastels, and chalk sticks PLUS a pad of paper, a book called Wild World of Animal Colors and a guide with art and writing project ideas. One idea is to read the book and talk about how animals use colors, patterns, and lines to hide or attract attention. Then, kids use the oil pastels to draw a realistic or imaginary animal with colors and designs that will help the animal survive.
Crayola Creations Art History Fashion Set
Design a collection of beautiful fashion during your at home staycation. Get 5 removable stencil pages with 100+ fashions and accessory shapes to help create your designs. Includes 4 instructional pages, great for those just learning or for someone who wants to improve their drawing techniques.
Klutz Sew Your Own Unicorn Cake Pillow
Cuteness alert! Spend your staycation learning to sew a soft decorative pillow using techniques like whip stitching, basting, and gathering. With plush faux fur, metallic gold lame, iridescent pom-poms, and pre-cut felt pieces, you’ll have tons of options to decorate your cake. Find more craft and activity kits here.
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