Have your family’s summer plans changed? Many people have rescheduled their vacations due to the unrest caused by the pandemic. You might be one of many parents scrambling to keep your kids safe and busy while you telecommute this summer.
In a COVID-19 world, you might not relish sending your little one away to in-person camp. Plus, the facility they wanted to attend might remain closed, depending on your location. Have no fear — the nine ideas below will keep your little angels engaged while letting you get some work done!
1. Vacation Bible Camp
If you follow the Christian faith, Vacation Bible School may be your go-to rock. However, in the wake of COVID-19, your church may have changed their options. Some parishes are doing neighborhood outreach programs with smaller groups, while others have pushed back their schedules. Contact your local faith community to find out what your options are.
2. Virtual Summer Camp
In light of the pandemic, some organizations have taken their in-person summer camps to the online world. You can find programs for children interested in STEM where they can learn computer programming or how to perform engineering tasks in the safety of their homes. Kids can still share their learning with friends in discussion groups to maintain the social element too!
Likewise, many museums have taken their summer camps into the virtual world — contact your nearest facility for details. Budding Picassos might enjoy enrolling in an art class. Some community colleges permit underage learners in select elective courses, although they often don’t award credit.
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3. Fun Online Learning
You don’t have to pay for an entire camp program necessarily. There are hundreds of online learning resources, and once you review safe online practices with your kiddos, they can take full advantage.
Unless they missed credits or work in the spring that they must do, don’t insist that they take classes in the three Rs. Since it’s summer, let them have fun exploring their interests. If they want to strum the ukulele, they can find tutorials on YouTube, or if they prefer to knit a hat, they can Google step-by-step instructions.
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4. Collect Seashells
Many families are canceling plane tickets and returning to the family road trip this year to keep their kids safer. If you live in a coastal region, you can often drive to the shore in a matter of hours. Make a day of combing the beach for shells. When you return home, bring the prettiest of your collection with you to craft into a shadow box for your bathroom or decorate a hermit crab’s lair.
5. Go for a Nature Walk
A growing consensus of experts finds that spending time outdoors creates less of a risk of contracting the novel coronavirus than lingering in enclosed spaces. Why not take advantage of the gorgeous summer weather by going on a nature walk with your little one? You can make it a sensory experience by identifying the different scents and sounds you encounter. Plus, the exercise will make naptime a breeze!
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6. Visit a Science Center
Science centers offer new worlds for young learners to explore. Many of them feature hands-on exhibits — make sure you pack hand sanitizer and wipes in your purse. You’re also wise to call ahead before you plan your visit. Some facilities limit the number of visitors due to social distancing requirements, and you don’t want to arrive only to find the venue full. If you enjoy flex time at work, why not play hooky on a less-crowded weekday and make up your hours on Saturday?
7. Tour World Museums Online
Did you cancel your family flight to Paris because of travel restrictions? You can still tour the Louvre and many other famous museums from the comfort of your couch. If you need a few hours to work, send your kids on a classical art scavenger hunt. Can they find a bust of Pallas? Locate the Mona Lisa?
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8. Take a Swimming Lesson
While you might want to avoid the locker room and crowded concession areas, many pools will open on a limited basis. One activity they often offer is swimming lessons — they can limit the number of kids in each class. Contact the facility to ensure you feel comfortable with their safety restrictions. As far as experts know to date, the virus does not spread through pool water, although it can linger on other surfaces.
9. Check Out the Library
Summer libraries might look slightly different this year, but they should be open for business. Many facilities allow you to reserve books online and pick them up curbside, minimizing your need to make contact. If your kids want to take advantage of computer learning classes and resources, check with the facility. Some are offering limited services with improved cleaning and sanitation of devices in between uses.
Keep Your Kids Safe and Active This Summer With These Activities
You want to keep your kids safe and active every summer, but this year’s pandemic makes it more problematic. However, the nine activities above will keep your little ones engaged — and you sane!
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Jennifer Landis is the founder of Mindfulness Mama, a blog where she talks all things #momlife, marriage, mindfulness, and everything in between. A thirty-something mom of two, Jennifer spends her limited free time practicing yoga and pilates, sipping tea, and reading with her littles. You can find more from Jennifer on Twitter, @JenniferELandis.
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