While students overflow with excitement that summer is right around the corner, parents are asking “what can I do with my kids this summer?” This year parents have to consider the health risks of COVID-19 paired with the fact that children have been glued to their screens for the better part of the year. Conventional summer camps aren’t a likely option, but having kids run around while trying to work from home isn’t either. What’s a parent to do? What can I do with my kids this summer?
Build a Summer Calendar
Not only will co-creating a summer calendar with your family help to create rhythm and routine, but it will also give your family checkpoints to look forward to (like field trip Fridays)! Designating time each day for children to have quiet time, learning time, and parent-time will help simplify planning and set guidelines for kids to know when to play, rest and learn. You can use Canva to help create a weekly schedule like the one below.
Theme Your Summer
Can’t go on vacation this summer? Even though we might not be able to go out, you can bring the fun in! Have something exciting that your kids can look forward to by theming your weeks and incorporating challenges, field trips (including virtual ones), learning projects, foods, and crafts! This is a great opportunity to broaden your child’s scope of learning and introduce them to topics or concepts that they might not get to touch on in school.
- Animal week: kids can do a research project on an animal, take a field trip to the zoo (or a virtual one), make a craft of an animal habitat!
- Reading week: as a family have a reading challenge – how many books can you read together in one week? Make family reading time fun – with snacks, comfy pillows, and candles! Ask children to write an alternative ending or draw a picture to one of the books they read! If you’re teaching your little how to read, we have a great post on that.
- Space week: make edible solar system treats, make a funny song to remember the order of plants, take virtual tours of space stations!
- Country week: each week you can travel to a different country and learn about their culture, language, food and more!
Subscribe to an Activity box for the Summer
There are tons of paid activity boxes that you can subscribe to for your children that include everything from the instructions to materials. No prep, planning or shopping required! These boxes provide ready-to-go activities that grow your child’s creativity and learning and range from topics including STEAM kits, cooking kits, reading kits etc.
Pro tip: order cooking boxes for dinner such as Hello Fresh and use this as an opportunity for kids to get comfortable in the kitchen while helping out with dinner. You can even throw in a nutrition or fraction lesson in there!
Clusters (if safe and permitted)
We know that kids have missed out on a huge social component with schools largely being online this year. Though it may not be safe to gather in large groups yet, there may be opportunity to form a closed cluster of families (2-3) to socialize with, do camp with, and learn with over the summer.
- Backyard camp: parents can take turns to facilitate activities for the cluster
- Pen pals: encourage children to grow their writing skills by writing to their pen pals within their cluster
- Learning pods: bring in a tutor to facilitate consistent tutoring and fun activities for your cluster of children
This one sounds like a no brainer, but sometimes it can be challenging to take something simple and make it creative and engaging for kids! Have you ever thought of setting up a tent in your backyard to emulate a camping trip? How about geocaching where kids go on a nature scavenger hunt using technology? What about making sandwiches together and going on a picnic? Fishing? Learning outdoor survival? Treetop Trekking? The options are endless and we challenge you to think outside of the box and take outdoor activities to the next level with kids.
Give Yourself and Your Kids Grace
Lastly, as summer may look chaotic and unorganized, practice giving yourself and your kids grace. We’ve all had a challenging year and it’s okay if our kids and activities don’t go as planned. Some of my best childhood summer memories surround unstructured and organic moments spent with my family. I encourage parents to embrace the spontaneous moments with their children this summer!