Summer is in full swing, but this summer looks markedly different than any other summer before. As we continue to deal with the global pandemic and prepare for a second wave, many of us are still keeping our families away from other people as much as possible to slow the spread.
So many of the traditional summer activities that we do with our kids involve large groups of people. We often go to the beach, go to the community pool, or go on vacations like cruises or to resorts. Even summer camps in many places are closed. Since most of those things are out of the question for many of us that leaves us with one burning question: What the heck are we going to do with these kids all summer?
Our children have already been away from their friends and social activities for months, and it looks like that might continue through the new school year. But it is important for them, and for us, that they begin to get outside more and enjoy the summer as much as they can. Researchers have begun to examine the effects of quarantine on the mental and emotional health of our kids, and although most people are seeing a positive effect on their kids with reduced stress and even reduced physical ailments, long-term isolation from outside activities could be detrimental.
Even if you aren’t allowing your children to be around other kids or large groups, there are some ways you can make sure they are able to have fun this summer and get outside for physical activity. Here are some ideas for fun summer activities that can be done with small groups of friends or just as a family to make your kids feel like summer is still the summer they are used to:
COVID-19 Summer Activities
- Set up a pool in your backyard– Grab a small pool from your local store or Amazon, and set it up in your backyard to let the kids play. It’s not the same as the community pool but they after months of quarantine they will love it.
- Backyard camping– Set up a tent, make some oven s’mores, and enjoy a night under the stars
- Regular camping– Camping at designated campsites should be pretty safe seeing as campsites are pretty far from one another and you will not get in close contact with others. Just wash hands thoroughly if using the camp site bathrooms or other amenities.
- Hiking– Most hiking trails are starting to open, and if you pick a lesser-known trail in your area you probably won’t come in contact with many people.
- Outdoor movie night– Set up an outdoor movie using a projector onto your house or your garage door, and enjoy a big-screen movie without visiting a theater. Many movies are still coming out on streaming services while available in the theater, so you can even enjoy the summer’s hottest new movies.
- Play “Survivor”-The longest-running and most popular reality show of our generation is popular for a reason. Set up some obstacles or even have a food challenge inspired by Survivor. You can do things like a balance challenge while standing on a log, a water throwing challenge to fill up a bucket by throwing pails of water to one another, or a cut-up an old t-shirt and have them complete a “puzzle” challenge. You can even reward the tribe with ice cream afterward!
- Have a neighborhood “zoo”– You might not want to go to the zoo, so have the zoo come to you! Set up a neighborhood zoo with stuffed animals. Ask your neighbors to put out stuffed animals and write down facts about their animals, and on a designated day you can take a walk around the neighborhood to see the different animals. You can even make habitats for your stuffed animals if you feel so inclined. This is both educational and fun for the kids.
- Have a “theme park” day– Your family vacation to your favorite theme park may have been cancelled but you can do your best to create a theme park day at home. You won’t be able to recreate the rides but you can recreate the yummy treats and the shows! Serve things like popcorn, ice cream, pizza, and hot dogs, or look up recipes for your favorite theme park treats. You might even be able to search videos on YouTube of rides and attractions which you can enjoy throughout the day!
- Visit a National Park– Many National Parks are reopening this summer and visiting one of our nation’s wonders is a great way to get out and enjoy nature. As long as you don’t go into the Visitor’s Center or other large communal space, you should be able to enjoy the National Parks and avoid large droves of people.
- Create your own beach– Beaches are opening but you still may not feel comfortable with the large groups of people. You can create your own beach at home with a couple bags of sand, an inflatable pool, and some beach day snacks. Lay the sand down on a couple of picnic blankets (for easy clean-up), set up your inflatable pool, and enjoy the snacks you might normally take the beach for a day of fun!
Summer looks very different than our summer’s past, but with a few ideas and some creative thinking outside the box, you can give your kids some summer activities during COVID-19 that still make summer feel kind of normal.