June 27, 2008

Staycations: Saving Money, Having Fun, Making Memories

(Part One of a Five-Part Series this Week)

It was great timing! Meredith, a reporter with the Portland newspapers called to ask about some ways to save money and still have fun with a stay-at-home vacation, or what the media has now dubbed, "Staycations." It was perfect timing because it was the last full day of this year's Gram and Gramp Camp, a week when we, with Baxter, 10, and Katie, 7, have made a lot of wonderful memories without spending a whole lot of money.

Many of the things we do at Gram and Gramp Camp are perfect for a family at-home vacation, especially if the weather is damp and chilly as its been this past week. Games are often by-passed during the busy school year and long work weeks, so you may need to re-connect with some of them. Playing card, board and outdoor games are wonderful family-focused activities
that cost little yet often lead to much laughter and many memories. And kids so love to feel that they could just possibly beat the adults in their lives!

There are so many wonderful board games, old favorites such as chess, parchessi, Clue and , and new ones whose names I can't even pronounce! Then there are card games such as rummy, Rummikubs (actually played with tiles) , and new to us this year, Five Crowns, another level of rummy-like play. There are the perennial favorites such as Skip-bo, Uno, cribbage, and our family's latest game addiction, Quiddler ($12.95, beautiful cards!). If you haven't played this word game, and you like Scrabble but wish it didn't take soooooo long to play, Quiddler is THE game for you! You start with three cards and move through eight hands increasing one card each hand until the last is ten cards. The cards have letters or letter combinations and each has a point value. I'm not going to tell you anymore except to say that Quiddler, like every game that this company puts out, is top quality...nice designs, ease of learning to play, challenging and, oh, no! educational!

Maybe you want to have some kind of tournament, set outrageous end scores (I once played 36 hours of rummy with a 25,000 point score-goal...phew!), or even invent your own game. When we were kids, my siblings and I designed our own Monopoly games complete with custom boards, etc. Of course, now you can buy Monopoly games based on everything from your home state to your favorite sports team. I guess we were just ahead of our time!

Let's not overlook the outdoors games perfect for a summer's evening. Capture the flag, hide-and-seek, my goal 1-2-3, and kick-the-can never, ever grow old! Of course, there's always dodgeball (as long as no one gets too murderous!), kickball, badmitton, tetherball, croquet, four-square...oh, SO many possibilities! Half gallon milk jugs filled with water and a softball, and you've got your lawn bowling covered!

If all this sounds slightly silly to you, then you most definitely need to do it!

Tomorrow we'll look at treasure hunts from the very simple to letterboxing, geocaching, orienteering, and even scavenger hunts. You know, this summer's stay-at-home vacation may just be one of your best ever!



Alice Goldsmith said...

Good morning Mary.
My sister e-mailed me the other day about our upcoming staycation. First time I heard of it.
She has booked a place not far from her home for a week.
So we can have some get-a-way time.Alice

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