June is almost here but the transition into summer for parents and kids is going to look a lot different this year. Typically by now you would’ve had the summer all planned out. Summer camps, trips up north, and plenty of play dates at the park. Since spring was upended by the pandemic and the situation changes almost daily, chances are pretty good that at this point you have no idea what your summer will look like. Add to that the fact that in many cases, parents will be balancing working from home with keeping the kids busy. How can we pull it all off while still maintaining our sanity?
Being prepared is still the key, even if your preparations have to look a little different. Here are some ideas for things you can plan for your summer no matter how long social distancing guidelines may be in place.
- Continue the learning! You’ve probably developed a system to help your child with “distance learning” over the past few months. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to keep it going. Teachers have always lamented about the amount of learning that seeps out of kids’ brains over summer break, so maybe this summer can be different. Keep up with the reading. Continue to explore educational apps and websites. Plan for hands-on exploration activities that are fun and educational. Bonus: You may be able to get some work done while your child is busy with some of their own.
- Have your very own Sport’s Camp. Your child may have to miss out on the community ed camp they usually attend, but that’s no reason to skip the experience altogether. Recreate the sports camp in your own backyard. Stock up on balls, bats, and other outdoor sports equipment and set goals for your kids that will keep them moving and allow them to hone their athletic abilities. You could even assign older kids to be the “camp counselors” and have them come up with the daily activities schedule.
- Super-size family game night. You may have gotten your fill of board games when the weather was cooler and you were stuck inside but put a new spin on them by playing them outside. Many popular games have yard-sized versions designed to play outdoors. Jenga, Connect Four, Yahtzee, and Kerplunk, to name a few.
- Keep the camping trip on the calendar. That family camping trip you thought you’d have to cancel – maybe you just need to rethink it. Whether you set up a tent in your yard or turn your living room into a Winnebago, get creative. Your kids will love it!
- Turn your kitchen into your favorite local restaurant. Support your local eateries by ordering dinner for take-out and turning it into “family night in”. Have your kids dress up as servers. You could even give them a little tip to put in their piggy bank.
- Make an at-home amusement park. Is a trip to the local amusement park a summer tradition that looks like it may have to skip a year? Recreate it at home with carnival games, face painting, fair food, and more.
- Stay connected and encourage your kids to do the same! Technology allows us to remain social, even when we have to physically distance ourselves from our family and friends. Schedule virtual play dates for your kids and virtual social hours for yourself.
- Plan a parade party. Parade parties are one of the great things that have come out of social distancing. They’re a great way to help people celebrate exciting events when we can’t throw them a real party. If you know someone who has a birthday or other milestone coming up, plan a parade party for them! Spread the word. Make signs. Blow up balloons. This is a great way to stay connected and lift people’s spirits!
- Chalk-it-up! Creativity has been on display everywhere with chalk, so join in on the fun. Whether it’s on your driveway or on the sidewalk in front of your house, encourage your kids to leave encouraging messages or happy pictures for their neighbors. This another way to make people smile.
- Document life! We are living in a period of time that will end up in the history books. Take a lot of pictures and encourage your kids to keep a journal. When future generations ask about the pandemic of 2020, how cool would it be if your kids had their own personal history book to share.
This summer may look very different, but if the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it’s how incredibly creative we can be when we need to.