Summertime Family Fun is Still Possible

Summertime Family Fun is Still Possible

Summer has arrived, and for many of us, that means wringing our hands over how to keep our kids occupied amid the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“With ongoing virus concerns and social distancing guidelines in effect, many summer activities like camps, concerts in the park, fairs and other opportunities for large gatherings may remain off limits,” said Dr. Betsy Beckman, a pediatrician with Holland Hospital Pediatrics & Internal Medicine. “But even if the state continues to encourage us to stay at home as much as possible, we can still take advantage of the weather and enjoy a slower pace of life.”

Need a little entertainment motivation? Here are some ideas to spark your inspiration: 

  • Cook something new, and be sure to get the kids involved in the making or baking process. Consider preparing a dish from a place you'd like to visit to feel like you've traveled somewhere new.

  • Explore your local, county and state parks. Get outside and go for a walk or hike (practice social distancing with others you encounter). Turn the outing into a nature scavenger hunt where you search for different kinds of plants, flowers, animals and birds.

  • Nurture green thumbs. Start a garden in your backyard or plant some herbs in pots.

  • Take your family on a virtual field trip. Many museums and zoos from around the world are offering free virtual field trips.

  • Visit Highlights@Home (brought to you by Highlights magazine), which posts regular online roundups of stories, puzzles, craft ideas and more.

  • Enjoy the water. Engage the family in a squirt gun fight, run through the sprinkler or check the availability of your community pool. You could also head to the beach. Again, keep proper distance and hygiene measures in mind. The CDC also recently published recommendations for operating swimming pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds during the coronavirus pandemic. “Currently, there is no evidence that COVID-19 spreads through water in pools, hot tubs or play areas,” Dr. Beckman said. “However, because person-to-person spread of coronavirus is ongoing, it’s important to remain vigilant, and ensure the health and safety of your family. That may mean strictly adhering to social distancing or potentially avoiding places like beaches and community swimming pools this season.”

  • Curl up with a good book or check out Storyline Online, a website where kids can watch animated children’s stories read aloud by famous actors.

  • Recreate the summer camp experience at home and/or in your backyard. Develop your own special cheer or song, make decorations and don’t forget the s’mores. You could also host a virtual Zoom sleepover with your child’s school buddies or camp friends. (If you do decide to send your kids to youth camp, review these CDC considerations.)

  • Explore an unchartered active hobby. For example, golf courses are now open. Or how about rollerblading or longboarding? Don’t forget your helmet!

  • Play a board game––the perfect option for a rainy day. Ticket to Ride is a great choice that offers a fun escape along with an educational element.

“Remember to ask your kids what they’d specifically like to get out of their summer, too,” Dr. Beckman said. “Then you can set one or two goals and figure out how to accomplish them together. Write down a goal for everyone in the family and hang it in a place you see often.”


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