Summer is usually the time people go on vacation or spend more time outdoors, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means you’ll likely be spending more time at home than you have in past summers.
Families with kids are especially impacted, as many of the 14,000 summer camps across the United States have closed — leaving parents to scratching their heads on how they’ll keep kids entertained with at-home activities.
Don’t fret, there are plenty of fun summer activities you can do at home to help you and kids have fun. Check out these great indoor and outdoor summer activities to bring the camp to your home this year!
The sweltering summer heat means most of your summer will probably be spent inside, so check out these great indoor summer activities for you to try with your kids.
Art gives kids an outlet to express themselves, and even adults can have fun while crafting. You can keep it light to cut down on potential messes, or go all out with any assortment of supplies you find around the house. Set up a supervised art space near your home office with an assortment of paper, crayons, and colored pencils to give your kids an activity to do while you work. For weekends, try a more complex project such as tie-dying t-shirts or making a birdhouse to hand in the yard.
If your kids aren’t comfortable backyard camping, transform their room into an awe-inspiring blanket fort or even expand it across several rooms using any blankets, sheets, pillows, towels, and couch cushions you can find. Work together as a family to build the fort, then play games, share stories, or even watch movies for a truly magical experience.
Board and card games are a great way to connect as a family and kids can even play together during the day while you work. A simple deck of cards offers a seemingly endless amount of options, but for some suggestions, you can check out this list of 10-Kid-Friendly Card Games featuring easy-to-learn classics like go fish and slapjack. To mix things up, make Friday night board game night and try out a new game each week to find some new family favorites you can play for years to come.
Reading is one of the best ways to learn new things and it’s a great habit for kids to get into. Ask your kids what they’re interested in reading about and let them pick out a combination of books to read over the summer. You can even set aside a time block each dedicated to reading each day, and join a summer reading program or start your own. Some online reading programs offer rewards such as free books, but you can also come up with your own creative prizes for your kids after finishing each book.
Many restaurants aren’t offering dine-in availability, so take this as an opportunity to try exciting new recipes that you can cook as a family. Ask your kids what they’re craving and find a recipe to replicate their favorite restaurant foods. If you want some ideas that are more about fun than making a full-course meal, check out this cool list of 12 Summer Cooking Activities to Do With Kids which combines the fun of crafts with tasty treats you can eat.
For added fun, look up recipes with kids and see what they’re interested in cooking — you may get them to try something they otherwise wouldn’t. This is also a great way to encourage kids to make healthy food choices, as research suggests kids who do meal prep or cook have a greater preference for fruits and vegetables than those who don’t. If your kids accompany you when grocery shopping, let them pick out product — just make sure you and your family is wearing a face mask when going out for supplies.
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t go outside to enjoy the great weather. Try these great outdoor summer activities to keep kids entertained and give yourself a break from the screens.
Picnics and backyard barbecues are staples of any summer, and that doesn’t have to change during COVID-19. Grab a thick blanket and some sandwiches, or throw some food on the grill to have a picnic with the entire family. If you’re not sure where to start, check out these 28 Quick Summer Grill Recipes from Food & Wine. You may even invite a few close friends or family members over from time-to-time, just make sure to practice proper social distancing and wear protective face masks when others come over.
This summer is the perfect time to plant a garden or even just add some greenery around the house with a few potted plants. If you have kids, let them pick out some things they’d like to grow in the garden including flowers or even edible options such as veggies and herbs. Work together as a family to rake, dig, and plant the garden — then give the kids responsibility for watering the plants each day or as needed depending on what you grow.
Turn your backyard into an exciting campsite by setting up a tent, or create a makeshift shelter by tying a rope between trees and hanging a sheet or blanket over the top. Once you’ve got your base structure, line the floor with comfy blankets and pillows to make a cozy spot for the entire family to camp over a weekend. To make your campsite even more magical, hang a combination of lamps, string lights, and glowsticks around the tent (which will also help younger kids feel more comfortable sleeping outdoors in the dark).
Cook up some hot dogs and let kids roast their own marshmallows around the grill for some great campfire food to eat while sharing stories and stargazing. While it’s dark, you can also play a fun game of flashlight foraging — in which one person hides a small item in the yard and everyone else has to look for it using flashlights.
One of the best parts of summer camp are the fun games kids get to play, so bring the most popular activities to your home this year. Create a scavenger hunt with a treasure map and clues to have kids searching around the yard, and reward them with a prize upon finishing the game. Cool off on those scorching summer days with a water balloon fight and give each team a different set of colored balloons to see who comes out on top. If you want to make an entire day of games, plan a field day with popular activities such as a three-legged race, egg toss, or capture the flag among others. For more ideas, you can check out this comprehensive list of 50 Field Day Activities.
You and the family will eventually need to get some fresh air outside the home, so taking a walk around the neighborhood is one of the best summer outdoor activities you can do while safely distancing yourself from others. Everyone knows walking helps burn calories and improves physical fitness, but research suggests the activity also has other benefits such as boosting your immune system and improving your mood if done regularly. For those who are working at home, a study also found walking can help clear your head and boost creativity as well.If your kids aren’t into walking, try going for a family bike ride instead — just make sure to wear a protective face mask anytime you expect to come in contact with other people.