Summer 2020 may have arrived with a cloud of uncertainty and a new assortment of struggles, but it hasn’t been canceled completely.
In a summer now devoid of vacations, camps, pool parties, family outings, and barbeques with friends, younger kids and teens are no longer occupied and majority of parents are feeling overwhelmed with what’s to come.
Whether you’re a parent seeking new approaches to engage and entertain your kids this summer, or you’re wondering how you might be able to provide some sort of summertime fun at-home, don’t stress anymore.
Summer 2020 can still be chockfull of fun, stress-less things to do and we’re here to tell you how. The following is a roundup of our favorite summer activities and useful resources that will offer a welcome respite from your immediate summertime concerns.
Some Old-Fashioned Fun
The list of old-school family activities is endless. Browse through these 17 Old-Fashioned Activities Kids Today Will Love or these 36 Old-Fashioned Family Activities When Stuck in Quarantine. Here are some of our favorites…
Host a movie night: Rather than heading to the local movie theater with friends and family, gather around the tv or computer screen with some popcorn, sodas and candy. When it comes to movie night essentials, read what this dad of two recommends, and if you can’t decide on a movie, make it fun by letting everyone draw their favorites from a hat.
And watching a movie with friends has never been so easy. Using Netflix Party, your kids and their friends can use a shared link to watch the same movie at the same time, all while chatting online. This is a sure way to entertain your kids for an hour or two while you unwind.
Make homemade ice cream: Nothing captures the essence of summer quite like ice cream. The entire family can indulge in making some homemade ice cream with the season’s fresh ingredients. Make some of these amazing flavors and set up an ice cream bar with all the fixings.
Have a family game night: Put the screens away and break out the old boardgames during a weekly game night! Before you begin, read through Banagrams’ tips on how to host the perfect family game night. Don’t have any board games? Check out these 10 Fun Games to Play on Zoom with friends.
Keep It to The Backyard
Whether you’re hanging out in the backyard, front yard, driveway, or local neighborhood park, being outside and feeling sunshine will make everyone smile and laugh.
Create a splash zone: Summer is the perfect time for water-fun activities in the hot sun. Try out one of these 50 water balloon games for kids. Or make your own Slip N’ Slide! All you need is a roll of plastic, a garden hose, and shampoo. It’s insanely fun.
Grow a garden: Even though growing a garden can be a bit daunting and the activity might be geared more towards older kids and teens, planting your own herbs and flowers can be a great learning opportunity for everyone. You can learn about soil variations, how to select and plant seasonal vegetables, and how to grow any flower from a seed.
Have a picnic: Take lunch or dinner outside with a classic picnic. Have your kids get involved in the cooking process by making these fun, 60 kid-friendly picnic recipes. Or show your teenager how to use the grill with these fun and easy grilling recipes.
Invest in outdoor games: Purchasing a basketball hoop, ping-pong table, or croquet set will definitely keep the fun going all summer long. Search through best seller lawn games at Target.com or Amazon.com.
A Different Kind of Creative
If anything, summer 2020 is the perfect time to try new things and get resourceful.
Chopped cooking challenge: Are you looking for something new to make with all of your pantry items? Or do you have an ambitious chef-to-be in the family? Inspired by Food Network’s popular competition show, Chopped, try designing your very own at-home Chopped cooking challenge. This activity is perfect for the whole family to get involved.
Break out the Legos: You’re never too old to enjoy some Lego building. Keep things interesting and creative with this 30-Day Lego Challenge from Free Home School Ideas. Or challenge your Lego-constructing skills by tackling a large project like the Millennium Falcon.
Make archeological dig kits: Digging for dinosaur bones, gems and other items is a for sure win for all young dinosaur and archeological enthusiasts. Just follow these simple steps to make your own at-home dig kits and let the excavating begin!
Express your mask: This DIY at-home activity presents an opportunity not only to get creative in a multitude of ways, but for kids to understand the importance of and become accustomed to wearing a face mask. Meant for kids and adults of all ages, #ExpressYourMask is a uniquely fun opportunity to share your COVID-19 experience with others on social media. Visit ExpressYourMask.com for more information.
Useful Summertime Resources for Parents
Let boredom ring: Over the next few months, it’s perfectly okay to let both yourself and your kids be bored. Not every moment this summer needs to be filled with something to do, and you don’t need to become the camp counselor. In fact, according to this Lifehack article, research shows that constructive boredom in children actually fosters creativity and helps them to develop a sense of identity.
Create a “Quarantine Pod”: To help balance mental health and social contact needs this summer, some families are considering forming what is called a quarantine “pod” or “bubble.” In this quarantine pod, your family can socialize with one or two other families without regard to social distancing, but no one else. The New York Times article The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Quarantine Pods’ breaks down important information including how to create a pod, when pods make the most sense, and how to discuss individual family precautions.
Managing screen-time: For most kids, summer means video games galore and COVID-19 has made managing screen-time a concern for many parents. According to Dr. Jenny Radesky, M.D., a pediatrician and expert on children and media at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, rather than focusing on how much time your child spends in front of a screen, it might be better to approach their media use in terms of who they are, what they’re watching and how you’re interacting with them. This structure is referred to as the Three C’s – child, content, and context. You can read more about this approach in the New York Times article Agonizing Over Screen Time? Follow the Three C’s.
However, if you would like to create a customized media schedule for your family, use the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Family Media Plan Tool and Media Time Calculator. And, if you’re looking for video game options to let your kids play during their allotted screen-time, check out these 17 awesome video games to play with your kids, and read through this list of All The Big Games Coming Out in Summer 2020.
Written by Jessica Noyes, WMA Communications Coordinator