Outings and Activities for the Perfect Family Stay-cation

Glance through the calendar, and you'll find there's a ton of long weekends to look forward to this year. So we started out thinking we'll put together a list of short trips you could take with your kids. After all, long weekends are the perfect time to plan a quick getaway with the family.

But let's be honest hereas much as you'd like to head to the closest beach town or hill station, sometimes it's hard to get booked, packed and on the road.

Besides, between the hours you've been putting in at work and the to-dos you've been putting off at home, maybe a few days in town to catch your breath and get some rest is just what you need. So instead of telling you how you can drive 4 hours to go rock climbing, we thought we'd bring you a list of fun ways you can unwind with the family without ever leaving your city (or going to a mall)!

But First, Assign Time for the Chores You Need to Get Out of the Way: And then get them out of the way! If there are things you HAVE to do, then just do them. Because there's nothing worse than trying to enjoy time with your family knowing that you still haven't caught up with some dreaded list of to-dos. Worse still, you don't want to find yourself spending your entire weekend with your to-do list (and a bucket of guilt) while your kids languish in front of the television. Be realistic about how much you want to get done and use the first day of your long weekend to finish your tasks while your kids complete any homework and assignments they might have. Once you are all done, switch off and let the fun begin!

Order In: Reward everyone (including yourself) for getting all their work out of the way with a treat. Order dinner in from a favourite restaurant and eat it together as a family. When this writer was a child, such meals would be enjoyed sitting together on the living room floor rather than on the dining table, almost like a picnic indoors.

Watch Movies, Play Games: There's no better way to get some laughs going than this. Check out our lists of favourite family movies and board games for some inspiration.    

Make a Big Brunch: The beauty of a long weekend is that your second day off is not followed by a Monday morning...there's still one more day off to go! Revel in the glory of this thought by cooking up a late breakfast/early lunch. Keep it as simple or as elaborate as you can manage and get your kids to give you a hand. A few simple things that are bound to be a hit are milkshakes, corn khees on toast, these rava idlis that don't require fermentation and Nutella-banana roti rolls.

Laze About and Catch Up On Reading: Nothing goes better with a weekend brunch than a good book followed by a nice nap. Curl into bed with your kids or find yourself a comfy chair and readto your kids, with your kids or for yourself.

Go to a Beach (or a Park, or a Lake): When you emerge from your lazy afternoon feeling like a million bucks, don't make the mistake of continuing to be lazy. Grab the kids and head out for what this writer's father used to call 'free fun'. This free fun was had by walking along Mumbai's Marine Drive in the evenings, taking in the sea breeze and watching the sun set. Depending on where you live, you could go to a park, a beach or any other open space where you can breathe in a bit of fresh air, run around and work up an appetite. Bring along a snack, some juice boxes and a beach towel and have an impromptu picnic while you are at it.

Rediscover Your City: On the last day of your long weekend, make the most of your day by getting an early start. Head out into your city and re-discover all that it has to offerthings you most likely don't have time for on a day-to-day basis. You could catch a play, visit a museum or art gallery or go on a walking tour of interesting neighbourhoods, historical sites and markets.

To give you an example, if you live in Mumbai, you could spend the morning at CSMVS (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum), grab lunch in Kala Ghoda and bring in the evening browsing through baubles on Colaba Causeway and admiring the sunset at Gateway of India. You can plan similar days around Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the markets, gardens and Udipi restaurants of Matunga or the by-lanes of Bandra. Every city has something to offer and you can have a fantastic day discovering these gems with your family.

Do Some Home Improvement: If it's too hot to plan a day outside, as it sometimes is, get the family together for a home improvement project. For example, you could make a container herb garden, DIY decorate your children's room or sort through your things and donate what you don't need to a charity. Add to the fun by putting on some kid-friendly music and laying out some snacks and enjoy your home and family.

Have a great weekend!

(Image: Thinkstock)

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