Ah, summer. The weather is warming up, and the country is slowly going back into “normal.”
We see across the nation some retailers starting to open their doors with precautions and using social distancing. While our nation is not fully out of this pandemic, many Americans have been in quarantine and are ready to experience a change of scenery.
As a parent, I had lots of great plans for my two active boys for this summer: various summer camps, swimming lessons, and playdates. Unfortunately, most of these programs will not be hosting children this summer. Therefore, I have come up with ten great ideas for the whole family to try this summer while continuing to practice safe social distancing:
1. Go Outside
As temperatures start to warm up across the nation, there is no doubt that going outside is a must on many family to-do lists. Try exploring a new park and or hiking trails. Plan outdoor picnics or host a socially distanced picnic with family and friends. Planning an outdoor scavenger hunt or creek stomp is also a fun way to get everyone outdoors this summer.
2. Travel around the world
While most families will not be traveling to new countries this summer, a great way to show your kids the world is through a virtual around the world experience. Families can choose various countries to discover each week. Then, make unique cuisines, learn a few words or phrases in their language, and try your hand at a special craft pertaining to the country. Especially in this time of learning and educating ourselves on culture, this would be a fun AND educational activity for the entire family.
3. Set up your own summer camp
Setting up a summer camp at home can be exciting for some and a bit daunting for others, but with good planning, it can be a fun family experience. I found the best way to do this is to make a schedule for each day of the week; divide each day up between indoors and outdoors activities. Each week can feature a different theme and activities pertaining to the theme. Setting up a “summer camp” at home will make the days enjoyable.
4. Pool retreat
Unfortunately, many pools are and will remain closed or open late this summer. Whether you have a large backyard, patio, or balcony, you can set up a retreat to have that “pool” feel. It may not be the same thing, but it will make summer feel a little cooler. Grab an inflatable pool, some pool toys and games, and a towel – it’s that easy.
5. Water activities
When the weather starts to really heat up and you have exhausted all other pool and sprinkler ideas, why not try some water activities? A water balloon fight is a childhood classic. Bike or car wash, water balloon pinata, DIY slip n slide, water obstacle course, and ice cube chalk paint are all great ideas to try this summer.
6. Setup a Campsite
Camping at home whether in your backyard or indoors can be a fun and unique alternative to the usual camping trip. If you are able to safely camp outside in your backyard, you can set up tents, a bonfire to cook dinner, make s’mores and tell spooky stories.
7. Outdoor Games and Sports
Do you have kids who love sports and competition? Lots of summer sports have been canceled as well. But never fear! You can set up your family’s very own soccer field (or maybe even a baseball field). There are lots of great competitive obstacle courses as well that can be put together in your backyard on indoors. Scour Pinterest for ideas or for a really fancy field, try these tips.
8.Sensory bins and Quiet boxes
Sensory bins and Quiet time boxes provide opportunities for kids to build fine motor skills and for parents to introduce a new subject to learn. AND it keeps kids entertained for hours! There are all sorts of great ideas such as using colored rice or pasta, water or sand, shaving cream, or cloud dough. The possibilities and themes are endless. A great site that I enjoy using is Little Bins little Hands, it boasts lots of great themes and ideas.
9. Summer Library Program
Every summer, our public library hosts fun reading programs for adults and children. These are always a great way to keep your kids reading over the school break while earning prizes and supporting your local library. Like most libraries across the nation, ours will be closed or offer short hours to pick up books. If you cannot participate in one, why not set up your own at home? Set up a little library station. With every book or number of pages read, your child can earn a little toy, stickers, or a yummy treat. Also, if your local area has little free libraries, try visiting different ones around the city for an alternative way to “check out” new books.
10. Acts of Kindness
With everything going on around us, having kids participate in a random act of kindness each week is important. It is not only an activity for summer; it is a way to instill kindness and community in our children. One idea that my kids will be participating in is the “You’ve been RACK’ d” act. It was originally designed for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, but I think during this time a lot of individuals need something thoughtful in their lives. The idea is to purchase a gift card, basic groceries, toy, or whatever your children would love to get and leave it either at a public place or a little free food pantry. There are lots of great random acts of kindness ideas that you and your family can participate in.
I hope these ideas help your family have a great summer. But no matter what you do this summer, I hope you all remain safe, happy, and healthy.