Summer 2020 is bound to be a unique experience for our children as they balance the freedom of vacation with the restrictions of social distancing. You may be wondering how you and your children can salvage the traditional summer experience. Luckily, most go-to summer activities have fun and crisis-approved counterparts guaranteed to keep the whole family in high spirits for the next three months.
Summer Tradition: Day Camp
- Virtual Camp- Wouldn’t it be great if kids could still interact with professional camp counselors from the safety and comfort of home? Well luckily, many camps, like schools have reformatted their curriculum for a virtual experience. If your child will wind up missing out on their summer camp plans, browse online camps and educational activities designed to meet the need for entertainment and socializing among quarrantiners.
- DIY- Create your own schedule of camp activities. Try some home science experiments, new recipes, and sports. In place of field trips, take a drive through local areas that you don’t often explore. Take the time to learn about your local history if you haven’t already. When you’re out of ideas, schedule virtual activities like the National Children’s Museum Daily STEAMwork videos.
Summer Tradition: Travel
- Camping- Who said traveling and social distancing were mutually exclusive? You can take your vacation without braving crowded beaches and hotels. Consider road tripping to a highly rated campground. It’s the perfect opportunity to teach kids about nature and outdoor survival skills. If they’re old enough, make it a hiking adventure and camp in a new spot every night.
- Self guided tours- If becoming outdoorsmen isn’t for you, put on your masks and take a self guided tour of a new city. A number of tour apps are available that will lead you to the best sites cities have to offer.
- Virtual Reality- Can’t leave the house? Swap your mask for a virtual reality headset and go anywhere in the world (or beyond) from the comfort of your living room. For as little as $15 smartphone users can take advantage of all the games, movies, and tour videos available in 360 degree virtual reality. Just slide your phone into the set and go.
Summer Tradition: Water
- Home Water Park- Public pools and swimming areas are probably the last place you want to be when avoiding the spread of germs. So, use your own water supply to create a backyard water park. Fill your park with the traditional slip ‘n slides, kiddy pools, and sprinklers or try out some of the more creative options.
- Connect With Nature- You don’t need to swim to enjoy the water. Opt to learn about aquatic habitats instead. Find an uncrowded spot at your local creeks, lakes, and beaches and study the native plant and animal life. Utilize guide books for an informative look at the surrounding habitat. The next time you get in the water, you can do so with a better understanding of the natural world around you.
Summer Tradition: Lemonade Stand
- Friendship Bracelets- Friendship bracelets are the perfect symbol of staying connected to others from a distance and they just happen to be the perfect craft for children as well. This summer, budding entrepreneurs can replace their lemonade stands with a remote bracelet business. Learn to weave colorful designs out of low-cost materials and deliver the finished product to neighbors mailboxes.
Summer Tradition: Ice Cream
- Hot Fudge Sundae Bar- Scooping a bowl of ice cream from a store bought half gallon is fine. But everyone knows that this can’t live up to the experience of an outing to the family’s favorite ice cream parlor. Salvage some of the experience by setting up a hot fudge sundae bar in your home. Line up everyone’s favorite ingredients and don’t be afraid to try some wacky combinations.
- Homemade Ice Cream- Let’s be honest. Most of us spent our childhoods not knowing (or caring) about how this delicious dessert was actually made. End the cycle and try out recipes for homemade ice cream with your kids.
Summer Tradition: 4th of July
- Do all the same stuff….just different- If your family celebrates the Fourth of July then the good news is…you still can. Work with your neighbors to organize social distancing versions of the traditional celebrations. Lead your street in a car parade. Then, bring everyone and their grills to their driveways and apartment balconies for a barbecue. Conversations might be difficult but hey…at least you won’t have to keep track of everyone’s allergies and dietary restrictions. After the barbecue, set off some ground fireworks in the road for a neighborhood spectacle. (Just stay safe and six feet apart.)
Summer during a pandemic sounds, at first glance, like three months of constant boredom with a steady diet of apocalyptic doom, and gloom. But your vacation really is what you make of it. Go out of the way to replace your normal summer ventures with safe counterparts. Get creative and you’ll find thousands of ways to restore hope and promote positive mental health in your household. Just stay safe, stay strong, and above all have fun. Because summer only comes once a year and kids won’t be kids forever.