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Staycation fun: days in with kids

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Staycation fun: days in with kids

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Entertaining the kids with summer staycation fun

We have lots of ideas for staycation fun for days in with kids. Whether you’re planning ahead, or you’re at your wits end we have fun ideas for kids of all ages. You’ll find loads of activity ideas here that can work and be tailored to your kids’ interests for maximum fun. Some require some thinking about, others you can magic out of things lying around your home in no time!

Got more ideas for things to do? Please add them in the comments!

Thinking ahead for staycation fun with kids

staycation fun for families with kids

These fun staycation ideas for keeping kids entertained can take a bit of advanced planning. You may be able to do them at the drop of a hat, but planning ahead may make for a calmer experience!

Theme days

My kids love these days, and I find them easier to cope with too! Having a theme helps me think up or Google ideas for fun. They pick a theme then we do on theme fact sheets, quizzes, books, maybe a film, crafts, baking, and make meals. Yeah, my “bear themed meals” are rubbish, but the kids don’t care! (Something involving salmon, or honey or marmalade sandwiches… they lap it up!) These are often our most fun staycation days!

Planning ahead can be easier, in case you want to print things, or have ingredients ready. However, if you have brain space you can pull these off at no notice!

Scavenger hunts

Make a list of things to find. If your kids can’t read use pictures. Or they can come back to find out the next item on the list. Planning ahead can make this easier, but you can just scribble down a list and send them off to hunt!

Grow something

Strawberries in borders or pots, sunflowers, and much more. If you’re starting in the summer holidays, then you may want to buy established plants. However, some seeds will grow fast enough if sown in summer. For example, you could grow lettuce, cress, radishes, spring onions, and rocket and eat your pickings! Although you won’t get peas to fruit you can grow pea shoots; very hipster! 😉

You can enjoy planting up a hanging basket or two as well for summer colour.

Baking and cooking:

You can full on bake with kids, or you can whip up biscuit dough when they’re busy and they can help with cutting and rolling. You can bake (or buy) biscuits and decorate them, or you could make cheese scones to go with soup, and get them to help make the soup! Kids have lots of fun getting involved in whatever you are doing, so if you’re not in a rush whilst on staycation then let them! If you want easy peasy then pizza on pitta or bought bases and your little ones can choose their toppings from little bowls. My kids will also eat stuff they would not eat if I put in front of them if they have put it on their own pizza, so it may get them trying new foods! Win-win

Science experiments

Ok, it may be the school summer holiday, but that’s no reason not have science filled fun! Find some simple ones online – I like The Dad Lab. Our favourites are making volcanoes (vinegar and bicarb, sometimes food colouring), dissolving an egg shell in vinegar and experimenting with soap and oil! You can do these outside if mess is a factor!

Staycation fun at the drop of a hat

Sometimes you just need an activity idea you can do right now.

Tech time!

If passive viewing is not your thing, we have lots of ideas for creative and educational activities using technology. You can make your staycation fun creative and learn new skills alongside your kids!

building fun for days in with kids


Build a town! This was my favourite thing as a child or check out these easy to build instructions from LEGO. If that’s not your kids’ thing why not create a pirate’s cave? Or a palace?

If you have Lego or duplo, then you have everything you need for these ideas too.

Dress up

My boys love dressing up. There’s a box full of clothes, hats, pieces of fabric. They combine costumes and bits and pieces in all manner of wild and wonderful ways. Then they act in character for hours. It’s very noisy and I rarely know what’s going on, but they have a great time. That’s what matters!

Pavement chalks

Get outside and decorate your paving slabs, paths, brick walls and doorsteps!

Put on a show

Whenever the kids tell me they’re putting on a show they set to build or craft a stage or props. They’ve usually forgotten the plan before they get to any kind of performance. Sometimes they will come and sing for me, and dance and cavort wildly for my entertainment! Encourage them to act out their favourite stories.

Indoor fun

Alas, with a staycation, the weather isn’t always great, so sometimes you need fun activities you can easily do indoors!

Follow your kids’ interests

Wild about planes? Then download an app to your phone detailing what plane is overhead, it’s origin and the destination. You may be on staycation, but where are other people going? After an amazing day at an airport viewing gallery, Jacob wants to know where every plane is going; uncle Neil’s app can always tell him!

Love rabbits, find out about rabbits!

Dinosaurs got your attention? Get reading, listening, drawing and creating! Podcasts for kids are available on lots of platforms, like Spotify, so you’re bound to find something to tell you more.


I could write so much on this that I wrote a whole other blog! You can read it here for all sorts of fun crafty staycation inspiration.


Got kids of different ages? Got really competitive kids? See if you can get them working together: what is the tallest tower they can build together? How fast can they build before they baby knocks it down?!

Act out favourite stories!

This can be great fun! A tiny toddler can pretend to munch their way through foods from the hungry caterpillar. You can become a gruff Gruffalo! We love to take on our favourite character and save the day. We have a range of story sacks with props, and activities specially designed to entertain kids around their favourite stories.


Hide and seek, but one person hides and everyone else seeks, when someone finds the hider they get in with them and the last person to find them hides next

Sensory play

Check out Pinterest, play with your own treasure basket with found objects or inexpensive household items. Be aware, if you’re giving your child things to explore that aren’t strictly toys you do so at your own risk. This is true of everything, however, there’s nobody to sue if your child has an accident with a wooden spoon! Play with playdough, you can make your own easily! Mix paint with sand and make textured drawings, make slime.


If you haven’t come across Cosmic Kids Yoga yet, check it out today! Story based yoga available for free on YouTube

Bath time

A great way to reset when people get grouchy, does it matter if it is the middle of the day? You get in too, or let them splash out their grumps. It is also a great way to get them clean after some mucky or sticky fun!

Outside fun for staycation days

Some days the walls of the house just cannot contain their enthusiasm, or their noise. The great thing is that getting outside into natural environments encourages many different ways of playing. It is also beneficial for physical health and mental development! Win-win!

bubbles great staycation fun for days in

Bubble fun

Bubble machines, or bubble wands; watching bubbles is entrancing for babies, likewise popping bubbles is great for burning off some energy with older kids. Babies love watching their older siblings pop bubbles too.

Nature Detectives

Some of the woodland trust Nature Detective activities can be done from home, and others are great for walks and days out.

Garden play

get outside, run around, use whatever outdoor toys you have, bring a blanket and some indoor toys outside. Take the play tent out, or make a den out of blankets propped on garden chairs. The toys they play with everyday indoors take on a new lease outdoors.

Bug hunt

see what nature you can spot in the garden- pigeons? Lift stones for slugs, snails, woodlice, go out when it starts to rain and see if you spot worms poking their heads out of the lawn.


Grab a blanket and eat lunch outside. It really can be as simple as that!


Find some sticks. This may require a walk, but I still think this can count as fun for a day in! Decorate them with wool or stickers or paper, whatever you have to hand. Let the kids get creative and make magical fun.

Play cooking

Use dried food like lentils/pasta. Stirring and pouring from bowls to pans, then getting you to “taste” their creations. Kids love both the sensations and performing your modelled cooking behaviours!

staycation fun water play

Water play

Whether you have water pistols, or just washing up bottles with water in; put up a paddling pool or simply use a washing up bowl to splash feet in. You certainly don’t need the biggest, the best, or the most expensive items to have a LOT of staycation fun getting wet! Giving kids a bucket of water and a paint brush to “paint” a fence keeps them entertained for ages some days.

For when you just need a break

relaxing days in with kids


Set aside some time for each day of your staycation for quiet chilling. I read about a parent who got the kids special mugs. They only got to use them for chill out time. So that enticed them to try the meditation, relaxation, reading and quiet time for a short period each day. Getting a habit of time to reflect on how they feel and what they need to feel good and healthy is a great way to start self-care young!


OK, screen time gets a bad rep, often undeserved, but sometimes we all need some downtime and there are worse things than curling up and watching a film together.

Sticker and activity books

When all else fails a sticker, activity or colouring book or paper and some stickers can get you enough time to make a cup of tea, and if you’re lucky, maybe drink it too!

Have more ideas for how to not only survive the school holidays. but make your staycation fun? Please post them below!

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Childhood play & learning, Children, Family activities, Parents & families
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