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Enjoy a ‘staycation’ this summer


The backyard, always great for the family’s health and well-being, can do even more this summer by being a place to hold a staycation.

With the pandemic keeping more people closer to home, a backyard vacation can be a fun way to spend time together and build new memories as a family while spending time in green space. Here are a few tips:

Make a backyard staycation plan. Put together a gentle schedule with a mixture of activities that your family will enjoy like dining, camping and games. Spruce up the yard. Mow the lawn and trim the bushes. Tidy overgrown areas. Now may be the time to add a picnic table, a badminton net or croquet course, planters, patio, grill, fire pit, or pergola to the backyard.

Organize for fun. Identify zones for different activities. Dining, lounging and reading may be best in shady spots. Sports, family yard games and tossing a ball to the dog may be better on a lawn that can handle rough and tumble play. Hammocks, lawn chairs, swings, picnic blankets and air mattresses can all provide a place for people to sit down and cool off.

Include teachings about backyard wildlife and nature. Ask kids to take an inventory of the many birds, butterflies and other wildlife they see, looking up their species and background. Put up a bird feeder or plant a butterfly garden, as well as potted flowering plants to support birds and pollinators. Add wind chimes, rain collectors, or backyard thermometers and wind gauges to help kids observe science in action.

Design new games incorporating the green space. Hold a nature scavenger hunt that’s fun, educational and tests the family’s observational skills. Create a “drive-thru” movie theater by bringing laptops outside or a projector to show them on a sheet hung outside.

Build anticipation. Talk about the backyard vacation in advance with family and review your plans. Countdown the days to build excitement about spending time together in the family yard.

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