How I Created a Backyard Staycation for My Kids

Julie Family

Summer holidays are knocking at the door. People often wonder how I keep six kids occupied during the summer months when school is out. While my kids love spending some time at summer camp, I was sure to make our home an entertaining place for kids – particularly the backyard. When you create a kid-friendly backyard, you hear less of “I’m bored” and you save yourself a whole lotta money on expensive day trips.

Here are the features that make my backyard a cool summer hang-out:

  1. A pool
    I can say with all honesty, I never wanted a pool. I expected it to be a lot of work and a big safety hazard for my posse of kiddos. It so happened when we were house shopping several years ago, the only house available that fit the bill of requirements had a pool. I sucked it up and accepted the pool. Now, I would never look back. My kids learned to swim at a very early age and I now consider the pool to be the most effective and reliable babysitter available.
  2. Chickens
    After three summers of playing with their dog, I decided to add chickens to our animal family. They hang out in the coop in the backyard, and when the kids are outside with them, they peck around in the garden. The kids love having chickens in the yard and collecting eggs is a daily highlight.
    chicken image
  3. A Springfree Trampoline
    On my last post, I spoke about all the virtues of having one of these and also did a give-away (congrats Lori M!) Read all about the outdoor fun!
  4. Crazy roller-coaster thing
    I’m just about to order the new updated version of this toy because we have actually worn out the original one we had, after it endured years of abuse by kids and adults alike. We happen to have a hill in our backyard which creates hours of crazy fun with the Little Tykes...
  5. Cheap and cheery box of fun
    Keeping an outdoor box full of sidewalk chalk, water balloons, bubbles and other low-maintenance goodies makes for lots of kiddo fun!
    several sticks of brightly colored thick pavement chalkartbystevejohnson via flickr
  6. An open-door policy
    Having lots of siblings and an open-door policy with neighbourhood kiddos is what makes the summer really fun. There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing a driveway full of scooters and bikes and a backyard full of kids. Kids are at amazing at entertaining themselves and I figured out early that more kids is actually LESS work. I keep a fruit bowl full, and a pantry with loads of granola bars and snacks so everyone can grab a bite when they need one.

What are your survival strategies heading into summer? Do you plan on spending a lot of time at home with the kiddos and if so, do you have a plan?

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Author: Julie Cole

Julie Cole is the co-founding vice-president of award-winning children's label manufacturer Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless entrepreneur awards. Cole is a regular television contributor, an influential and syndicated blogger and a mother of six. Follow her on twitter @juliecole and Instagram @cole.julie

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