Try these tips to enjoy a special vacation ... at home.

Home. Sweet. Home. We've spent quite a bit more time at home than we expected over the past year. I love hearing the good things that have come out of quarantine. My middle-schooler has mentioned more than once how thankful he is that we've had more family time. Yes! Let's all continue to find things for which we're thankful.

While our 2020 family vacation was postponed, we came up with a few ways to be intentional with a staycation.

Decide What's Off-Limits

A staycation at home can easily be interrupted by house projects or chores. Of course, some things still need to happen (like feeding your kids three meals a day!). Though just like if you were out-of-town on vacation, some chores can be put on hold. You might be able to push pause on chores like laundry or cleaning the house. And don't even think about paying bills. You're on vacation!

If you have older children, you may want to consider having a time each day where all electronics are off-limits. For example, everyone (including the adults) could set aside their cell phones between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. during dinner and family game time.

Splurge on Gadgets

A staycation can definitely be a budget-saver. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on a hotel, excursions, and eating out, consider purchasing a gadget or two for the family to enjoy together. We have gotten so much use out of our Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker. We've enjoyed making shave ice and letting the kids add their own syrups. We also make non-alcoholic piƱa coladas and daiquiris (with optional splashes of rum for the adults).

Another hit, Spikeball, is loved by kids and adults alike. Each team of two has a series of ball bounces between each other and towards the other team. The competition is fierce! The great thing about some of these gadgets is that they'll be enjoyed by the family long after the staycation.

Consider giving each family member spending money for the week. Go to your favorite stores, browse together, and select "souvenirs" from your staycation.

Bring Out the Board Games

Browse and seek out recommendations for the types of games you enjoy: dice games, cooperative games, or strategic games capturing your attention for hours of play. Pick up a few titles providing a variety in an evening of fun. May we suggest Ticket to Ride, Codenames, or Bang! The Dice Game to get started? If there is a favorite game that you play over and over, consider running a tournament. Games like Klask is just right for a tournament.

Research Local Attractions

Whether you live in the mountains of Colorado, the large city of Detroit, or the plains of Kansas, there are local attractions in your area. Consider things your family has enjoyed together like amusement parks, zoos, or museums. Also, research attractions that are new to you or those you've always wanted to try. You might happen upon a new favorite hike, a unique hobby museum, or a historical landmark that will make you love where you live even more.

Involve Everyone

This is the best part. Throughout your staycation, be sure to involve everyone. Gather together to brainstorm ideas. During this first step, no idea is dismissed. Let every voice be heard. Listen, especially to children, to see what interests them. It's inspiring to see children thrive when the whole group engages in an activity they suggested. And the rest of the family gets the opportunity to learn something new. As you're planning meals and activities (even downtime), be sure to consider each person in the family.

It might be fun to "assign" roles each day. One person could choose where to eat lunch. Another family member could be in charge of getting Spikeball set up for the family. And yet another person could be a timekeeper for activities that are time-sensitive. This is everyone's staycation. Work together to ensure it's the best staycation for everyone.

What did you do over your staycation? What tip would you add to our list? Share in the comments below.