When the Stay-at-Home order first began, teachers and parents scrambled to figure out a way to keep school-aged children active and engaged from the safety of home. While not an ideal situation, many tried the best they could to adapt.
NOW PARENTS ARE FACED WITH THE CHALLENGE OF WHAT TO DO WITH THEIR CHILDREN DURING SUMMER BREAK, SINCE MOST IN-PERSON EVENTS, CAMPS, AND OTHER ACTIVITIES ARE CANCELLED OR ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE.
The first step to activity planning is getting everyone on board. This might mean asking for everyone’s input to make things work as smoothly and safely as possible.
Communicate in advance with adult family members, friends, and child care workers to make arrangements for safe child care when needed.
While you may not be able to do everything you did last summer, input from your children on what activities they like best will also help give them some control in an uncontrollable situation.
SUMMER ACTIVITIES TO CONSIDER:
Summer is a great time to read for enjoyment! Studies show that young children whose parents read aloud to them regularly do better in school and develop a love of reading. Older children can benefit from reading books on topics that interest them.
Public libraries are currently open, and many are offering curbside pickup services. With a library card, you and your child also have access to many online books and resources.
Arts, Crafts, and Hobbies
Summer is a great time to devote to hobbies or learn new ones! Stock up on arts and crafts supplies and watch some YouTube videos on how to make creative projects or build things. Working with your hands is a great way for the whole family to release stress and stay busy. Choose a variety of art projects, or challenge yourself to one big project you can work on all summer.
Spend Time in Nature
While the Stay-at-Home order has made it hard to do more traditional summer activities, it’s still always a great idea to enjoy the warmer weather by spending time outside, as long as social distancing recommendations are followed. Hiking and picnicking are great family activities! Some local parks are also providing ideas for at-home nature adventures.
Many camps are offering programs online this summer. While the online experience isn’t quite the same as camping outdoors and making new friends, there are many opportunities available. Because the internet makes travel unnecessary, you can now consider programs all over the country on topics such as animals, arts, sports, or STEM – there are even camps devoted to Minecraft, Legos, and Harry Potter!
While in-person gatherings are limited, there are many behind-the-scenes volunteer opportunities available for families. For example, local food banks are always in need of donations, or you can drop off blankets and pet supplies to local animal shelters. Be sure to call ahead to find out any necessary safety precautions before stopping by.
SUMMER 2020 WILL BE A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER, AND WITH SOME CREATIVITY AND FLEXIBILITY, IT’S POSSIBLE THAT FAMILIES CAN MAKE POSITIVE MEMORIES THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME.
You may even want to consider keeping a family journal or scrapbook to document and commemorate this unusual and life-changing time in history. By modeling a positive and flexible attitude of resilience and building positive memories, we can protect our kids from the effects of undue stress while helping them build resilience.
Author: Sandi Lerman; Community Educator