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Memorial Day staycation ideas

Lisa Steinke, with Liz Fenton, is the co-author of the debut chick lit novel l'll Have Who She's Having and the popular Chick Lit blog chicklitisnotdead.com.

Stay local for Memorial Day

Memorial Day is just around the corner. If you're looking for clever — and inexpensive — ideas for ways to spend the long holiday weekend with your family, taking a staycation can be a great solution.

Read on for some creative staycation ideas that will get your kids excited this Memorial Day.

Go Green

Does your family usually hit the road for Memorial Day weekend? According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), last year nearly 35 million Americans planned to travel 50 miles or more for Memorial Day weekend, with almost 90 percent of them planning on driving their car as their mode of transportation.

Why not go green and leave your car in the garage this year? By staying local and not driving your automobile anywhere for Memorial Day, you'll not only save gas money, but you'll also save Mother Nature from your car's exhaust. Ask the kids to help you plan a creative outing that doesn't involve the car. Ride your bikes, walk or take public transportation to your destination. It will not only be fun to make the car off-limits, but a great opportunity to teach the kids about the importance of protecting the environment. Live green as much as you can during the whole Memorial Day weekend. Reduce, recycle, reuse!

Check out these fun ways to encourage recycling at home >>

Backyard water park

There's no question that kids love a day spent at the water park. But do parents? Whether you love to go or can't stand to be there, most can agree that on holiday weekends they are sure to be crowded. So save yourself the expense, and possibly even the aggravation, and create your own backyard water park — whether you have a swimming pool or not.

The kids will enjoy helping you design a water park and setting it up. Think slip-n-slides, water guns, water balloons, kiddie pools, obstacle courses and anything else your kids can dream up! The best part about having the water park come to your own backyard is that you can stay as long as you like.

Luau in your living room

Who wouldn't want to jaunt off to Hawaii this Memorial Day? The weather is perfect, the beaches are pristine and floating in the pool while looking up at the bright blue sky is the ultimate paradise. But let's face it — vacationing in Hawaii (or anywhere for that matter) can be expensive.

But that doesn't mean you can't have some fun and experience a little tropical atmosphere right at home. Have a luau in your living room! Before you roll your eyes at this, trust us, it will be fun. Involving your kids in the party planning is what makes this a family event. Enlist their help in making some decorations, shopping for fun party props and preparing tasty Hawaiian treats. Invite your neighbors, family and friends. Come party time, the kids play DJ, give party attendees leis to wear around their necks and lead everyone in a game of limbo. If you can, end the day with a fire in the fire pit as you watch the sun go down. And don't forget your Hawaiian shirts!

Check out these ways to get wet this summer >>

Say thanks

Memorial Day was set aside as a holiday each year to honor the veterans who died in military service for our country. It's important not to forget why you have this long weekend in the first place. Spend some time out of your weekend to teach your kids the importance of honoring the veterans who have fought for and given their lives for our country. Attend a parade or visit a museum to show your support. For those still overseas, you and the kids can send a letter or a care package. A great resource is: www.anysoldier.com.

More staycation ideas

Tips for a successful staycation
How to plan a kid-friendly summer staycation
How to have a family staycation

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