34: The Moveable Vacation

34: The Moveable Vacation

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide

The Moveable Vacation

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.

~Walt Streightiff

One year my children came home from school asking where we were going on our summer vacation. It seemed that all the other kids were discussing where they were spending the summer. I couldn’t afford to take them anywhere but I didn’t want to tell them that so I just said, “It’s a surprise!” They were delighted. That bought me a little more time.

I went over my budget several times to see if I could take them anywhere. I called several amusement parks in the state to see if there was a half-price day during the summer but no such luck. I tried everything, with no success, so I called some of the other moms to see what they were doing. Most were in the same position that I was. We decided to come up with something fun for our kids to do. We had a meeting, all five of us, and came up with what is now called a “playcation.”

One mother was a gardener, so on Mondays the kids would all go to her house. They would play games using plants and vegetables, such as a relay race where they had to pass a green bean held between their teeth. They also planted vegetables and watched them grow over the summer. They even had a salad in August after picking their veggies.

The wife of our assistant pastor had Bible contests on Tuesdays. She got red, blue and green sample rugs from a carpet store. All the kids would stand out on the lawn while she asked a question. Then she would give them three answers. If you thought the first answer was right, you would stand on the red carpet. The blue carpet was for the second answer and the green for the third. Once all the kids were standing on a color, she read the true answer. The ones on the right color rug got a penny, which they all turned in at the end to buy their goodie bags.

At our house on Wednesdays, I made an outdoor obstacle course complete with my spare tires. The kids also walked a balance beam on a two-by-four from my garage and raced through large cardboard boxes taped together that I had gotten from an appliance store. We also had a contest to see who could hula hoop the longest.

On Thursdays they had arts and crafts across the street. Fridays were hosted by a wonderful single dad with a metal detector who took everyone out treasure hunting.

The summer was a big success. Okay, it wasn’t Disney World, but the kids didn’t miss anything. My son actually said to me, “Mom, I think we had the best vacation ever, not like all the other kids who only got a vacation for a couple of weeks.” My daughter added, “We got to spend it with our friends, not just with our parents, and it lasted the whole summer long. I can’t wait to tell everybody about my summer vacation.” This did my heart good but I was still thinking about putting aside a little each month so that I could take them on a real vacation the next summer. That is, until my son asked, “Can we do this again next year?”

~Diana Perry

More stories from our partners