It’s been over three months since the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on life for many in the US. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think all the closures would last as long as they have! Now that it’s summer, and after the months of isolation, people are really ready to get out and do things. We are in a transition phase of getting out into the world again, yet there’s also a sense of living in limbo with uncertainty about how our lives will look going forward. I know it’s nearly the end of June, but I feel like I’m just now jumping into summer, and I’m jumping in with both feet – cautiously! I’m trying to balance embracing the summer months and staying safe, so I researched, and came up with plans to keep me dancing through the limbo. Here are my tips and ideas for making the most of the rest of your summer!
Step 1: Determine your level of comfort with outings
Ask yourself if you want to continue to isolate or if you are comfortable with some social distance outside and inside. Some may be comfortable around others, or maybe only while outside, at the same time, others may feel it’s best for them to continue with strict isolation. However you feel, no matter your approach, it’s okay to do what’s best for YOU and you may find some ideas here to add more fun to your summer.
In my family we decided to put our summer fun into three categories:
Adventure Day – something new, or a longer activity
Local Outing – a shorter activity that can be done between meals
Home Day – less structure, but still engaging in activities.
Step 2: Create of list of possibilities
At the top of my list for an adventure day this summer is a zip line and stand up paddle board. I’ve wanted to try both of these for years, so I’ve got plans to make it happen this year. Berry picking is a fun, family activity I have scheduled and I include it in adventure day because for us it’s a longer drive to the farm, so it will take up half the day and may include packing a lunch. Visiting nature centers and museums provides learning opportunities and some museums offer free days once a month. Walking/hiking is also a priority, and I’ve already started doing some. While walking can be done in your neighborhood, of course, in this case I’m talking about exploring a State Park or a new location. Last week I posted a video on my Facebook page while I was in a park and if you haven’t seen it, you can find it here.
Local outing options will depend on your comfort level with being around people even more, or will take planning to attend during less busy times. Some ideas for both indoor and outdoor local outings include: bowling/arcade games, browsing in a bookstore or library, visiting the humane society, miniature golf, farmer’s market, having a picnic at a local park – try a different one and bring a ball or kite. One of the local outings for my family will be purchasing supplies for one of our home activities (keep reading).
Staying home doesn’t have to be boring! One of my favorite rainy day activities is an indoor picnic. You can make it fun for everyone by spreading out a blanket, making decorations or a centerpiece, making a meal together and then playing a game or watching a movie. Baking has been a popular pandemic activity, but why not experiment with a healthy recipe instead?! You could read, or listen to music and when you need to get up and move, crank the music up and have a dance party, or try some yoga. Artwork can be done on windows using window crayons or whiteboard markers and another creative activity I have planned for my family this month is to make a terrarium. These miniature gardens can be in a closed or open container, and there’s plenty of information on the internet to determine which is best for you and how to get started. Mine will be open, and we will be adding items to make it into a fairy garden. If you are avoiding travel this year, now is the time to plan your next vacation! Even if you don’t make reservations, researching locations and making plans for your next vacation can be really fun.
The best part about summer is the nice weather and you can take advantage of it even while at home. I’ve mentioned picnics in parks and in your home, but you can also picnic in your yard, or even camp out in your yard. Playing catch or kicking a ball around is a great way to move the body. On the really hot days, a squirt gun fight among your family members might be just the thing to cool everyone down. Using sidewalk chalk you can draw pictures, play tic-tac-toe, draw and play hopscotch, or leave messages for people walking by. As long as you’re not expecting rain, you can leave a bucket of chalk outside with a note inviting others to stop and draw or write their own message.
Step 3: Research and plan
Whether you are planning adventures, local activities or staying home, it may take some research and planning to make the most of your summer. I’ve learned through this process that while some businesses are starting to open up, it may vary on the type of business and where it’s located. Many websites have updated information, but some do not and if you really want to go somewhere, it’s best to call ahead. You may need to purchase supplies (My squirt guns arrived yesterday!), plan specific menus, or watch how-to videos. The preparation in itself can be a family activity. Once you have a list of ideas that everyone is on board with, or at least willing to try, then plan specific days for the various activities. If you are solo and cautious about being with others, many of my ideas can be done alone as well. Be thoughtful about pacing yourself, and know that the weather or other factors can throw things off, but by being intentional, you will be able to look back on a summer full of memories. Safety and fun is my summer wish for you!!