July 18, 2020
Midway through summer, many working parents have exhausted their arsenal of “fun activities,” and kids are getting bored to say the least. To make matters worse the unfortunate spike of Covid-19 cases across the country has made traditional camp options sparse. As a result, many busy parents have yet one more task on their overflowing list of to-dos – curate a fresh, new list of Covid-19 friendly activities that the kids will love.
Not to fear - budget travel and lifestyle expert Lindsay Myers offers a wide array of interesting, Covid-19 friendly activities (organized by category) that working parents can incorporate into their pandemic summer planning. For maximum benefit, activities should be selected and customized based on kids’ ages and interests as well as parental availability. Let this list be the beginning, not the end of the adventures you’ll try this summer!
It’s so important to get the kids outside not just for a change of scenery but to enhance their physical and mental health as well. You don’t have to go far of course – the backyard absolutely counts.
1. Plant a Garden - Teach your kids a bit more about where food really comes from. This one is not just great to get the kids outdoors, but there are tons of opportunities to infuse a few science lessons along the way (they’ll never know!)
2. Field Day - Who doesn't love field day? You can actually buy a field day kit online or consider making your own. Get some sacks (or pillowcases) for your sack race. You just need an egg and spoon for a spoon race. Use a ribbon to tie two legs together for the three-legged race. There are so many fun races to choose from!
3. Backyard Camping - If your kids are old enough, consider an overnight stay in the backyard. For the younger ones, set the tent, make smores, and let them feel like they are really camping even if they end up in their own bed.
4. International Picnic – Try globally themed picnics. Have snacks and food that take you to different countries. For your Mexican themed picnic, include tacos, guacamole, salsa and play fun Mexican music.
5. Scavenger hunt- Plan a themed scavenger hunt. Develop interesting clues that encourage real problem-solving. The options are endless.
6. Water Park – Water activities are always a hit with the kids. Just a few online purchases (slip ‘n slide, baby pool, splash pad, water balloons, etc.) can turn your backyard into a mini water park. Use lots of soap to make everything super slippery. Add some music and you’ve got a really fun afternoon.
As wonderful as it is to get out, it’s important to have options available for indoor activities as well. These creative ideas just might make them forget that they’re stuck at home.
7. DIY Tie-dye is a huge trend this year and fun for all ages. If you want to make it simple, order a kit online. There are so many different design and color options. Tie-dye offers a great opportunity for the kids to express their creativity.
8. Science projects – Volcanoes, crystals, chemical reactions oh my! Science experiments offer kids amazing opportunities to learn cool stuff but feel like they are just having fun. Even better, all the prep is done for you with these prepared science kits that are just a click away.
9. Theater- If your kids are great hams, this might be a great option. The great thing about introducing a theater project to your kids is that there are so many different options under the theater umbrella, and you can work on different modules at different times. For older kids, you might have them independently work on scripts (while you take a video call), then come together at lunch for a table read. If your kid is musically inclined, they can develop a song. Or you might challenge them to watch a famous musical, then write an alternate ending. This is a great option if you need an activity for a half or full-day.
10. Art projects- YouTube is filled with kid-friendly art projects. Kids can watch a video with lots of art projects then pick one that best fits their interests. To prepare for a range of art projects, stock up on art-related supplies. Also, be sure to designate an old sheet or tablecloth as the official draping for whatever surface is used for those messy art projects. It’s probably safest to designate a specific area in the house (or outside) for these types of messy projects.
11. Chore competition - Kids love competition so if you think this one might work with your crew, go for it. Another option is incorporating chores into a day-long scavenger hunt. A cool prize for the winner(s) may be enough to keep them motivated.
12. Improv games – Improv can be a wonderful outlet for kids, and they’re so much fun! There is a wide range of improv-based games that kids can learn that can be used to provide a refreshing break from screen time or combine to create a fun afternoon. These spontaneous exercises really enhance their creativity and comfort level in front of a group so it’s a skill that will benefit them for years to come.
13. Virtual Summer Camps – Providers like Outschool offer a wide range of virtual camp options ranging from “The Civil Rights Movement for Tweens” and “Harry Potter’s Magical Messenger” to “Introduction to Veterinary Medicine” and “Coding Camp in Minecraft.” There truly is something for everyone. With small class sizes and carefully vetted instructors, these virtual camps can provide a win-win solution for time blocks during the day when you need to keep kids occupied with engaging activities.
14. Peanuts Worldwide – If your kids love Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang, this might be a great resource. The beloved characters of Peanuts have a free classroom from home platform called Young Minds Inspired Classroom. There are tons of activities and printouts for each day.
Themed Family Nights
One of these themed family nights can turn a humdrum night at home into a memorable event. The key is to really get into it. The adults just might end up having more fun than the kids!
15. Movie Nights – You will get eternal cool points with the kids for showing movies in the backyard. All you need is a simple projector and screen. Allow everyone to list a favorite movie on a strip of paper, then put them in a hat and draw a new selection each week.
16. Dance Party- Go through the decades and dance your night away. Dancing is a fun way to get all the stress out, laugh a lot, and get some exercise. To amp up the fun even more, consider recording the group’s favorite and posting it on TikTok.
17. Game Night – Instead of relying on the same board games, pick a new one each week. Another way to create variety is to play your childhood favorite games – Twister, Battleship, Clue, Risk, Operation to name a few. Introducing them to your children broadens their options and also creates a trip down memory lane for you.
18. Cooking Competition – Simulating your own “Chopped” style competition can be loads of fun. Pick 3-5 key ingredients, identify the contestants and a judge, set the clock and you’re off. Make it more fun by introducing crazy ingredients or selecting a cool theme. The options are unlimited and if the meals can actually double as a real meal, this could be a win-win.
19. Work on a Charity Project - Whether you’re decluttering your house then driving through the Goodwill drop off location or making masks and dropping them off at local charity, completing a charity project focuses the family on something productive and worthwhile.
20. Documentary Night – Finding documentaries that align with each of your interests might be a great way to use television for good. Browse themed channels like Discovery, History Channel, and Animal Planet for great options that will suit a range of interests. Don’t forget the popcorn!