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Our Monopoly Staycation - How we stayed home and had the time of our lives

Marie Winfield

It was a vacation that checked all the boxes--it wore us out, brought us rest, sent us on adventures, savored our time at home...and most of all, everyone had fun together.   

Staycation doesn't have to mean dull, boring, and adventure-less.  We all love a fresh activity and a break from routine, and while we really love a good road trip, this was not the year for that.  Instead, we pulled out the Monopoly game board and adventured our game piece around the board, OFF the board, and around our neighborhood.  I even found ways to slip in a few home projects that needed to be completed as well as house cleaning without much complaint!  At the end of two weeks, we were all contentedly adventured out. 

Property titles sparked the ideas for activities,  Each morning we set out a property card or two or a Chance or Community Chest card.  Occasionally there was a wrapped gift that held clues to the day along with the card, and the Pickles tried to guess what the plan was for the day. It was the best way to start the morning, knowing that there was intention and excitement for the day.

Here are a few properties that our game piece landed on (and I added a few ideas to change them around to make a staycation of your own):

  • What are the cheapest hotels on the board?  You may exclaim Mediterranean or Baltic Ave, but while the game piece sat there, we pitched a tent in the backyard.  We cooked breakfast over the fire, played glow-in-the-dark ring toss (thank you glow stick bracelets), made hot cocoa, and the Pickles kept the tent up for over a week until it rained and they played, napped, and camped the days away.  Verdict:  The cheapest rates earned the highest ratings.
  • Indiana Ave (or any state line that is near you) is an easy way to reach another property.  We enjoyed a day in the city across the state line.  Chick-Fil-A is a favorite destination for us, and I'll admit that Target and the Mall are a good draw too.  But there's also a zoo, and parks, and events, and movies that can be found.  Crossing the state line was just the start of the fun and a reason to look around for a fresh view and experience.
  • Marvin Gardens -- emphasis on the gardens here.  Our annual natural dye day was a perfect fit.  Because of the relaxed nature of our dye days, it was a perfect come-and-go activity for two days while we picked, simmered, strained, and soaked our fabrics and designed tote bags (needed for another space on board).  Art projects during staycation?  That's how we roll.
  • Water Works.  We installed our kitchen sink.  So predictable, and yet, maybe not easily guessed when considering vacation-ish activities, am I right?  We all celebrated this task after utilizing a utility tub sink in the kitchen for three years.  A new sink truly felt like a vacation.  We all cheered when the water was turned on.
    We continued the Water Works theme by stopping by a coffee shop for "special drinks" for all.  Chai tea with coconut milk was the most popular selection among the Pickles, but the most delicious Fall drink menu had just come out and I think that Water Works is a card that we ought to keep on a weekly rotation now!  
  • It had to be done.  I don't know about your family, but if we're going to have a multi-week (even a multi-day) staycation, the house is going to need some attention from the vacuum and that bathroom sink is going to need a wipe down.  Hooray for the "Make repairs on property" Chance card.  We all dug in, it didn't take long, we stayed on theme, and the house was clean. 
  • Reading Railroad was a fast track to the library to rent a movie for the Community Chest card for "Grand Opera Night". Opera...Theater...Movie...you know, a variation on a theme concept.  I had pre-purchased theater snacks - boxed candies and popcorn - and wrapped them up.  When we set the cards out in the morning, the Pickles unwrapped the package as a clue to help guess that day's activity.  My husband picked out the sweetest, saddest movie and we all ended the night highly sugared and in tears.  Good memories.  Good memories.
  • It was a bit of a far stretch, but the Pickles love to go to the Demolition Derby at the county fair each year.  But with what property on the Monopoly board would that coordinate?  We settled on Kentucky Ave.  Kentucky Ave made us think of the Kentucky Derby, and though that evokes the idea of fancy and refined, we went with the derby theme and ended up at the Demolition Derby.  I know.  A far stretch.  But it's like a dad joke--though it's a little cheesy, it's what the funny eye-roll memories are made of.  Every vacation needs a good dose of cheese.
  • Oriental Ave was to be our favorite Chinese restaurant, but by that day we were all exhausted and opted to stay home.  It was a good plan, we just didn't end up needing another activity.  Because we didn't put out the property cards until the day of the activity, no one even realized that we made an edit and never even set out the card.  As a result, there was no disappointment that something was "cancelled".  Whew.
  • Pass Go and Collect $200.  Well how fun would that be?!   Fun, but not exactly possible.  So here's what we did:  Remember those bags we dyed during our Marvin Gardens day?  They came into play this day to collect items to be creative.  We stopped by our local dollar store, set a budget, and sent each Pickle off to collect items to create something.  The criteria was to take unexpected products and pieces in the store and create something useful or beautiful.  While the younger Pickles needed a little coaching to learn how to see the items in the store as supplies and not just finished products, the older Pickles zipped around the store collecting a sundry of randomness.  We grabbed some lunch on the way home, and everyone (even my husband and I couldn't resist a chance to play) spent the afternoon working away on their creations.  I'll post a new blog post to show what was created...but I'll give you a hint that a make-up case out of a book, a lamp out of plastic stemware, and the cutest ever snow globe all took shape that afternoon.  The most favorite item that several of us grabbed?  The mini Jenga game blocks.  This day could easily be switched around to using things in your own craft stash, items in the grocery, the pet shop, the backyard.  The whole point is to just get creative.  By far, this was voted as one of our most favorite days of the whole staycation.  Artsy projects really are our jam.
  • We needed a day to just chill.  Thank goodness for Free Parking.    By moving our game piece to the space on the game board, the Pickles sensed a definition to the day, but everyone had the freedom to do what they wanted.  There was some sewing, wood carving, movie watching, napping, running around the backyard.  Every vacation needs chill time.  This worked perfect for us.
  • It may be the second most expensive property on the board, but we took the title literally and found our own humble Park Place to take our fishing poles and enjoy a good day in the sun.  On that same note, other options for the day could have been the skate park, the splash park, hiking, or the canoe livery.  So many options to make the day memorable.
  • We all love a good charcuterie board here, and so moving to the Boardwalk property was the perfect reason to have a fancy little meal and sit around and chat about our Staycation.

Staycations don't need to be stale.  With just a bit of brainstorming and planning, we had a vacation that none of us will soon forget.

What do you think?  Would you do a board game vacation?  What game would your family choose or what activities would your family do on the Monopoly board?  I'd love to hear your ideas.  Maybe we'll use them the next time we have a vacation!

Always be creative,
Marie Winfield


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