7 Ways to Create a Backyard Vacation This Summer

Vacation time doesn't have to mean traveling to faraway destinations to have fun with your family.  Take advantage of a prime location close to home—your own backyard—with Mighty Mommy's seven tips for creating a fun backyard vacation this summer.

Cheryl Butler
6-minute read
Episode #337

Summer vacation has been going strong for over five weeks now. At this point in the season, most families are well into their summer vacation mode and have put the memories of #2 pencils, lunch boxes, and the early school bus well behind them.

As much as we enjoy the carefree, lazy days of summer, this is the point where most families start getting a bit antsy with one another and could use either a break from one another (let’s not forget—there are still five more weeks of summer vacation on tap!) or a total change of routine and scenery.

If separate vacations aren’t in your family’s plans, then shaking things up with a change in your usual summer routine could be just what you need to stay fresh and energized for the remaining days your family has to spend together before those school bells ring once more.

One way to do that is to take advantage of a space that’s very close to home—your own backyard. Mighty Mommy shares seven fun ways to create an exciting backyard vacation this summer.

Tip #1:  Create a Cool Pool

If your backyard space doesn’t include a much desired swimming pool, you can take steps to create your own cool spot to take a refreshing dip. There are lots of great deals on oversized, blow-up pools at the mid-point of the summer season. Last year, our family purchased a 10 x 30 easy set-up, above ground pool for less than $50!  True, we can’t do cannon balls and fancy flips off a diving board, but it’s just big enough to splash around in and get cooled off and because we just step off our deck into it, we can get refreshed instantly and then get back to our day.  And don’t forget the accessories, such as a beach ball to volley back and forth, masks so your kids can search for pennies and other little treasures—even a few squirt guns to add to all the splish-splashing fun. If you're lucky enough to already have a pool check out these tips for How to Spend Less on Backyard Pool Maintenance. 

See Also: Cheap and Easy Birthday Party Ideas   Also, check out Modern Manners Guy's Outdoor Swimming Pool Etiquette.

Tip #2:  Make an Outdoor Reading Nook

The bookworms in your family will take advantage of any cozy spot they can escape with their favorite author, yet there are also kids who need that extra nudge to pick up a book, especially during the summer. Turn a designated portion of your backyard into an inviting reading nook. One idea is to purchase a smaller inflatable pool and instead of filling it with water, blow it up and fill it with outdoor throw pillows. Your kids can relax in a contained area that is both cool and comfy. Setting up a couple of hammocks is also an inviting way to create a fun and relaxing spot to read during the day or lounge in the evening and gaze at the stars. And for a super cute idea that I discovered a few years ago on a crafter’s blog, you can also create individual hula hoop hideouts.  All you need is a hula hoop from the Dollar Store and an old sheet or soft blanket.  Here are the easy directions.  See Also: 5 Ways to Get Your Kids Reading

Tip #3:  Backyard Waterbed Retreat

Keeping cool in a pool isn’t the only way to stay refreshed on a hot summer’s day, you can also have tons of fun in your very own backyard waterbed, which is also referred to as a water blob. What is a “water blob,” and how do you make one? Simple. A water blob is a large piece of plastic sheeting (a clear thin tarp) filled with water. When it’s done, it makes a cool, dry play surface. For added fun, you can even turn on a sprinkler on top of the blob, which then turns it into something similar to the popular slip'n slide. There are many renditions of the “water blob” available on both Pinterest and the internet.  The one we made came from directions shared on PBS Parents.  The materials couldn’t be more simple: plastic sheeting and duct tape. 


Fold the plastic sheeting in half and tape the three open sides with duct tape. (It helps to have assistance!)

Insert the hose and fill the blob with water. When it's full, tape the small opening shut and let the kids loose. 

If you like, you can add some blue food coloring for a little extra fun.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.