| OUTSIDE THE BOX
Mixing Work With Virtual and At-Home Vacations
by Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig
And just like that, summer is upon us. If you’re anything like me, a much-needed break is on your to-do list. But if you have a fledgling business that needs your attention—and a family with needs to consider—a vacation out of the city, state, or country may be out of the question. So, how do you make your entrepreneurial mark and grow your venture, while keeping your family entertained and happy as they share your workspace during the summer school break? How about a virtual staycation?
A staycation is a vacation spent at home. And although it has also been associated with doing activities and visiting locations within your community, many people use this type of time off to do things around the house. According to studies cited by CTI Working Environments, a staycation not only helps you have a healthy heart and get better sleep, it can also increase your mental health by reducing stress and anxiety.
If you’re willing to be a little creative, combining a mix of family activities at home and nearby will give you a unique view of the world outside your four walls, save you money and the stress of planning a traditional vacation, and provide the family time you all need away from day-to-day routines.
UNDER ONE ROOF
After a long-lasting and often confusing remote learning process, children and parents alike could use a way to begin their staycation with a smooth transition. The following are several free and/or inexpensive classes available online for all ages:
- Gallery Media Group’s digital lifestyle brand PureWow provides yoga videos that are entertaining and are sure to captivate toddlers and young children.
- At the Dance Theatre of Harlem, professional instructors/dancers from the world-renowned school offer step-by-step dances for toddlers and young children. Additionally, some courses are taught in Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean.
- Artists from the New York City-based New Victory Theater teach a diverse mix of classes that can help your child learn a new skill. Songwriting, juggling, magic, dancing, and more are available.
When it comes to family time, nothing says entertainment like animals of all types. Many zoos and museums have set up live cams that allow everyone to watch lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), as well as fish, amphibians, and creepy crawlers. Check out the following sites during a pizza night—or find a blank wall inside or put a screen up in your yard and rent a projector to maximize your virtual experience:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium has brought the beauty of marine life to your home. An open sea cam, penguin cam, and jellyfish cam provide awe for all ages, and a collection of videos set to hip-hop jams can turn a regular evening into a family dance party.
- Elephant and giant panda cams are just two of the 24/7 live cams offered by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Turn your viewing into a game night with downloadable animal cam bingo cards, which combine learning and fun as you watch the animals roam.
- As of this writing, more than a dozen live cams are available from the San Diego Zoo. The zoo also has a dedicated website for activities to do with kids, including a word safari and animal stories.
CLOSE TO HOME
If you decide to venture into your community, find activities that you can do early in the morning and/or in the evening. That way, you’re more likely to avoid the crowds. Other fun and relaxing bonding activities that won’t break the bank include a backyard camping trip, a cooking or baking challenge, self-guided walking tours of your town or city, or a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood.