While it might feel like we’ve hit pause on “normal” life this summer, that doesn’t mean we have to spend the next few months isolated and lonely. With a bit of creativity, we can find ways to slow down and enjoy the extra time we’re spending with our families. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of 15 summer activities for indoor and outdoor days spent with your loved ones.
Studies suggest that spending even just 20 minutes outside will have you feeling calmer and more focused. Here are 5 activities to help you reap the benefits of the summer sun with your family:
- Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt: Some neighborhoods have organized scavenger hunts or homemade bingo games to instill a feeling of togetherness in their communities. Kids will be able to walk or bike with their parents in search of handmade signs, stuffed animals, or other treasures sitting on windowsills. This requires a bit of coordination, but can give kids a fun activity to do outside while maintaining a safe distance from others. You might also make use of the recent trend of people putting drawings of rainbows in their windows to support essential workers. As you take a family walk around the block, see who can spot the most rainbows!
- Keep a plant journal: Susan J. Tweit, a plant biologist and author of Walking Nature Home, suggests kids keep a plant journal. “Get to know a tree or shrub in your neighborhood intimately by observing it over the course of a growing season. Every week, check your adopted tree or shrub and note any changes.”
- Become a photographer: Bring a camera along on your walks to take pictures of nature and wildlife, then upload those pictures to ca to add to Canada’s growing database of biodiversity. Share what you see on your walks, meet other nature walkers, and learn more about Canada’s wildlife.
- Play a nature game: While many kids love running around and blowing off steam, after a little while they may need some fun distractions to keep them going. Try out one of these 7 kid-friendly games on your next family hike to keep the momentum going!
- Test out your green thumb: With winter well behind us, now is the perfect time to enlist the kids to help you in the yard or garden. Planting bulbs and watering plants is a great way to make sure you stay active this summer.
For days when the rain keeps you inside, here are 10 more activities to keep you and your family entertained.
- Go on a scavenger hunt around the house: Take the fun inside by sending your kids on a hunt for silly items or handmade crafts. For older kids, try a memory hunt! Create cards with clues describing a photo in your home, and have the kids match the memory to the picture.
- Set up a FaceTime or Skype call: Arranging a video call with friends or family members can help you feel connected to the outside world. If your kids like listening to stories, consider scheduling a regular storytime with their grandparents or other loved ones.
- Sign up for an at-home dance class: Make sure you’re not sitting on the couch all day and dance like no one’s watching! Check out GoNoodle, which has three- to five-minute dance routines that you can follow along and share.
- Create the ultimate blanket fort: Gather up all the blankets and pillows you can find and build a fortress. If you’ve found yourself online shopping more often in recent months, you can put all those empty boxes to good use!
- Have an indoor picnic: Find a space in your home to spread out a blanket and have a meal picnic-style.
- Mural painting: On her blog, Christine suggests having your kids create a painting or drawing for each day that your family is stuck inside. You can slowly start adding them to a wall in your house or a large piece of cardboard, and you’ll soon have a mural memory of the time you spent together at home.
- Take a virtual field trip: While you might not be able to take a family trip this year, there are many free virtual field trips being offered by cultural sites, zoos, aquariums, and other attractions around the world. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Diego Zoo, and Cincinnati Zoo’s daily “home safaris” on Facebook Live are great options.
- Listen to a family podcast: Parents and kids alike will enjoy this selection of educational podcasts. Choose from a variety of episodes focused on science, ethics, mysteries, music, and more!
- Join an art class: Invite your child’s friends to break out their craft supplies and follow along an online tutorial together over a video call. If they can’t make it in time for a call, simply share photos of your finished masterpieces after the class. You can try out artist James Dean’s Pete the Cat Club or illustrator Carson Ellis’ Quarantine Art Club on Instagram for art classes for both adults and kids. For more crafty projects, check out the Craft Box Girls on Facebook every Tuesday and Thursday at 1pm EST for fun and easy crafts you can make at home with your kids.
- Have a singalong: Music can be a great way to bring your family together. Even if you have no musical ability, now is the perfect time to learn. J with a K Music School is offering free group classes for kids (and adults!) of all ages and abilities. For a daily singalong, join Rainbow Songs for free baby, toddler, and preschool singalongs in the mornings at 10:00 am.
Let us know what creative tricks you’re using to keep the kids busy this summer in the comments!