The Great Thanksgiving Staycation - Five Family Outings

Filed under: Holidays

Our Thanksgiving celebration this year involves just a short day trip, which leaves a nice, long, leisurely weekend to be enjoyed at home. Our lives are so busy during the week, I look forward to these bigger chunks of unscheduled time to decompress and enjoy some quality family time together.

Sometimes, family time means sitting together working on a project. And sometimes it means getting out and trying something new. If you're hanging around home this Thanksgiving, here are five free or low-cost outings to enjoy together:

The craft store or hobby shop: A long weekend is the perfect time to start a new project. Kids can pick out activities they enjoy on their own, or the whole family can get started on homemade holiday gifts for family, teachers, and friends. If you're spending time with extended family, this might be a great time for Grandma to pass down her love of knitting or other talent. Here's a simple pillow that kids can make from a beloved, but outgrown t-shirt.

The library: Libraries have changed over the last 20 years, and are no longer just a destination for book-looking. Spend some time in the children's area playing with the toys. Ask the librarian to look up some of your favorite childhood titles to share with your kids. Some libraries have family board games on the shelves, while teens might like checking out new music on a listening station. Try out the microfilm machine and make copies of newspapers from the day you and your kids were born. And if you're interested in researching your family tree, stop by the reference desk to see if they have a genealogy section.

Volunteer: One of the best way to teach kids about kindness is to give them a chance to be kind. Sign up to help at a local soup kitchen or food pantry. Toys for Tots and Coats for Kids are both charities that are very active this time of year. Or simply grab a couple of garbage bags and clean up your local park. Visit to find volunteering opportunities in your neighborhood.

The planetarium or the museum: You're always talking about taking in that star show, now you've got the time to do it! Not only are these great choices for inexpensive entertainment, they're also educational. Other options include tickets for a show at a local playhouse, or even a holiday concert.

Your own backyard: When things get busy, my three-year-old will ask me, "Why are we always going everywhere?" Sometimes, what kids need is not another adventure, but the chance to create their own fun at home. Rake the leaves (and jump in them), plan next year's garden, build an indoor or outdoor fort, get out the bikes one last time before the cold sets in for winter, or just spend time inside playing games and having fun.

We all know that what our kids want most from us is time. Spend some time over this long Thanksgiving weekend spending time and building memories with your little ones. What's your favorite fall family outing?


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.