Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer Staycation Tip: Get a Membership

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As summer is winding down, I can't help but reflect on the summer. We have taken a few smaller vacations out of state, but most of our activities have been in state and more "staycation" esq. There are a lot of benefits of a staycation, especially when you have young children.
  • Young children are easily impressed and don't need to go someone far to have a great time.
  • Staycations are closer, which means less travel time, which means less time traveling with young children.
  • Staycations mean you spend more time sleeping in your own beds, which means children sleep better, which means they are happier, which means you are happier, which means they are happier. It's a circle.
  • Staycations save you money. You can save money aside to save up for a grand vacation when your kids will actually prefer that over the staycation.
A great way to have a staycation and have fun with younger children is to  have a membership to a place you love to go. Memberships are nice for a lot of reasons:
  • You typically only have to go 2-3 times to pay for the membership.
  • You can go for shorter chunks of time. If you have only 2 hours, you can still go and not feel like you are "wasting money" because it is already paid for.
  • Because you are willing to be there for shorter periods of time, it is usually more enjoyable. You can leave when the children are tired, hungry, or overstimulated. That means happier kids which means happier mom, which means happier kids. Again, it's a circle. 
  • It is something fun you can do all for one price.
Let me tell you a little about #MySummerStaycation season passes. For years, we have done a membership at a historical location close to our home. They do baby animals in the spring, pioneer celebration in the summer, and a fun fall celebration. They have historically accurate homes and demonstrations from life in the West. They show life as a pioneer, mountain man, and early settler. They have a little train, ponies to ride, and panning for gold. The children really enjoy it and are surprisingly interested in learning about the history. We only have to go two times to pay for it and our third time is free. This is very easy to do with it being less than a five minute drive from our home. 
Washing clothes like they did on an early 1900s farm
Last year, we got a second membership and that is to an amusement park close to our home. They are open here April-October (we have real winter so they can't operate in the winter). They have lots of fun rides and a water park. It has been a great place to go. Our second time going saves us money. The third time is free. 

Some fun at the amusement park

There are so many places you can get memberships. Water parks, aquariums, zoos, theme parks, swimming pools...think of what your family likes and give it a try!

Of course I would love to go to more exotic places. My next US dream vacation is New York City. And a big dream of mine is Europe. I love history, and the history in Europe is very appealing to me, especially considering the ancestors I have from various parts of Europe. I would love those dream vacations, and I hope to reach those dreams some day. But life is a journey, not a race. We will get there when it makes sense for us. Right now, most of our vacations (or staycations) make more sense to be closer to home. Every area of the world has amazing things to offer and we often overlook and take for granted those things. Use your child's young years to take in those things and appreciate what your area has to offer. 

4 comments:

John said...

I think staycations are great! They are so much more relaxing for me, and your right happy mom happy kids. I love to find new and interesting places to go that are close to home. I live in New Zealand and I love to be outdoors, it is so beautiful here. I loved travelling to Europe with my husband before we had kids. We have a few more places we would love to travel too. Maybe take the kids with us next time. One day. For now staycations are where we are at.

Val, I have been reading your posts on Sibling Playtime and I would like to start this with my nearly 3 year old daughter and 18 month old son. I was wondering, when you started this with your first two children did you let them choose the toys to play with or did you decide for them. I find it hard to find toys that they both like playing with or have enough of for both of them to play. Also they dont like it much and want to leave the room after a few minutes unless I am in the room and even then they often want to leave. What would you suggest?

Jerusha

Valerie Plowman said...

Jerusha New Zealand is one of my dreams! I would staycation there forever if I lived there ;)

Sibling play--I would let them choose what they play with and let it be individual. For now, just focus on them playing in the same room at the same time. Really, developmentally, 18 month olds do not play "with" others. They play "by" others. Just start with short amounts of time and work your way up from there.

John said...

Great, thanks Val.

The children will be playing in one of their bedrooms, so I imagine one may not be so pleased to play with the other ones toys. Should I let my oldest bring in some of her toys into her brother's room? I'm guessing I should limit the number of toys she brings across, and say once chosen and we start, she cant go and get more or swap?

Valerie Plowman said...

Yes--go ahead and let them choose a couple of toys to take along.

When I did this, I always had my younger one go in my older ones room. She didn't mind playing with his toys. It was good for him to learn to share. But it wouldn't be bad to let one child being in 1-3 toys.

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