It’s “summer vacation,” yet many parents have already been at home with their kids for several months now, and ideas for activities may be running low. So here are some things you can do—either in your house, your own back yard, or in other outdoor spaces where social distancing is possible.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Plant something and watch it grow. Whether you have an established garden or room for a few pots on your front step, you and your kids can sow seeds, water them daily, and watch the transformation from tiny seedling to a flowering plant—or something edible like basil or tomatoes!
Go picking. It’s the height of blueberry season in New England, and many farms have made special accommodations so that you and your family can maintain social distancing while picking your own berries! (Just remember to bring your masks!)
Set up a water station. Splashing around will always be a fun choice for kids in summer—especially in hot summer weather. So why not set up a refreshing outdoor play station for your kids? Break out the garden hose, set up the sprinkler, or make a DIY water table from some old Rubbermaids (Pinterest is your friend!).
Take a nature walk. Explore local trails with your kids. Even just a 30-minute walk in nature can feel like a mini-vacation in quarantine times! Whether you opt for a long or a short jaunt, be sure to pack water and a snack. You will also want to bring masks for yourself and your kids. You probably won’t need them, but if you end up on a narrow trail with other hikers, it’s good to have them on hand.
Go backyard camping. Set up a tent, build a fire-pit, toast some marshmallows, and get ready for a fun family getaway right in your own back yard! This might not be the exact camping trip you’ve always envisioned, but there are some definite perks to the location… including the luxury of indoor bathrooms nearby!
THE GREAT INDOORS
Cook or bake something. Pick one of your kid’s favorite foods and whip it up together. From blueberry muffins to homemade pizza, there are plenty of fun and delicious things you can create—and eat—together!
Get an activity box subscription. Get kits and activities sent right to your doorstep on a regular basis! Subscription boxes are great for rainy (or very hot) days, when spending time outside isn’t really an option. From STEM- to arts-and-craft-themed boxes, these subscriptions will provide ready-made fun and learning for you and your kid(s)! Here are some popular services to choose from.
Write a story together. Tired of reading that favorite children's book for the eleven-thousandth time? Sit down with your kid and cook up a new story! Whether you start with a prompt (Google “writing prompts for kids”) or inspiration from your kiddo’s own imagination, there is lots of fun to be had. Let your child take the lead, and you can be the scribe. Once the story is written down, you can even do some illustrations together!
Have movie night (or afternoon). Pop up some popcorn, pile up some pillows, and round up the whole family for a special viewing party. If you need some guidance choosing a flick that will work for the whole family, commonsensemedia.org is a great resource.
Build a fort. Whether it’s from blankets and chairs, cardboard boxes, or a giant stack of pillows—fort-building is a fun activity, and can result in a cozy spot for kids to sit and play or read afterwards.
Hold a living room yoga class. If you’ve taken a yoga class or two, then you probably know enough to hold an “intro” class for your kids. If you prefer more formal instruction, there are plenty of classes available online for kids of all ages. Check out some YouTube videos in advance, and find one that you think would be right for your family!
Build a truck ramp. Do you have a recycling bin full of cardboard? With some empty boxes, scissors, and some strong tape (think mailing or duct tape), you and your child can build tracks, ramps, or jumps and hold races for toy vehicles.
Check out a nature cam. Watching animals or marine life frolicking in their own habitat can be a fun, relaxing, and educational way to spend an afternoon. Here are some great animal livestreams to choose from.
Have a dance party. If your household has come down with a case of severe grumpiness, there’s nothing better than an impromptu dance party to lift the mood. Crank up some music and dance like a maniac! Your kids will either join you or laugh along with you. Either way, it’s a win!