Parents across the country are mourning the cancellation of camps this summer. Depending on your area, all of your local camps may be canceled, or some might be shortened. Now, you’re struggling to come up with ideas for your kids entertainment all summer. Playgrounds are just beginning to open, but most museums, pools and movie theaters are still closed. So what can you do? Here are seven ideas
- Learn another language.
Let’s face it—our kids are probably going to have a lot more screen time this summer than we’d like, especially if both parents are working from home. So how can you make this constructive? Commit to only allowing your kids one hour of English television and movies a day. If they want to watch television outside that hour, it has to be in a different language. BBC’s Muzzy videos are a great resource. Little Pim is another popular resource.
2. Camp kits.
My kids’ camp was canceled this summer, but they offered “camp kits” instead – packages of different activities to do at home, including all the supplies (like making fairy wands, science experiments and sand art). This doesn’t replace the fun of camp by any means, but it’s a way to get your kids thinking creatively. See if your local camps offer something similar. Alternatively, Little Passports offers “Camp in a Box,” Kiwi Crate offers kits as well, and you can find more custom-made kits on Etsy.
3. Start a family puzzle or a family paint by number.
These activities can last for weeks, especially if they are very detailed. Dedicate a small table to the family puzzle or painting and let your kids contribute when they’d like.
4. Turn your backyard into a mini camp.
A big goal for most parents this summer is to get their kids outside. You can turn your yard into a kids’ fun zone for not a big financial investment. Buy a teeball set for young kids, or a fold-up soccer goal for any age. At Target, I’ve seen bocce ball sets, giant dominoes, outdoor Connect Four sets and cornhole games. Make sure you have hula hoops and jump ropes on hand. Trampolines are pretty much sold out in big box stores, but I found a 7-foot one, still in the box, for young kids on Facebook Marketplace for just $75.
5. Foster a dog.
If you don’t want to make the jump into full pet ownership, considering fostering a pet from your local animal shelter. Or, sign up to raise a Seeing Eye puppy.
6. Challenge your child to write a book.
Give your older children the challenge of writing a book this summer. Set a word count and see what they come up with. Have a reward ready to incentivize them if they’re skeptical (like a beach trip or that toy they’ve been eyeing).
7. Plant a garden.
Teach your children how to grow and take care of a garden; this will give them something to do consistently every day. Let them choose what foods and plants to grow. Then, use those foods to cook a meal together.
8. Field trip.
Ask your older children (who can navigate the internet) to come up with one field trip idea each week. They must make sure the place is open and within driving distance in one day. This could be fruit-picking at a local farm; a zoo; an drive-in movie; a state park; a local beach; etc.
9. Make a family scrapbook.
Gather all your family photos and have your children sort through them and create a scrapbook. Take a trip to a local craft store and gather all the materials you’ll need (colored paper, stickers, stencils, etc.).
10. One nice thing a day.
Challenge your child to come up with one nice thing every day to do for someone else. This could be things like painting rocks and putting them around your neighborhood; delivering food to an elderly neighbor; donating canned food to a food shelter; writing a letter to a relative; making a friendship bracelet and mailing it to a friend; drawing a picture for a postal worker.