Right now, your family’s summer plans might be in limbo. Parks, beaches, schools and summer camps are still figuring out the path to reopening safely. Regular childcare may not be an option for quite some time.
Keeping your kids safe and healthy come first, but what about keeping them entertained? That’s no small feat. Especially if you’re jugging a full-time job or caretaker responsibilities.
So, what should you do if your kids will be home all summer with nowhere to go? Well, it’s important not to panic—but it’s totally normal for this to feel a little daunting or stressful. Take stock that you’re not going through this alone. This pandemic has put parents in a tough spot. Do what you can, ask for help when you need it and know that with some adjustments, this can be a great summer.
While not all of these ideas, resources and activities will apply to all ages or situations, we hope that they might make planning summer fun a little easier.
Make it Educational
Kids are insatiably curious. Feed their desire to learn about the world around them with fun, interactive lessons throughout the summer. Even better, set them up so they can go at their own pace and give you some much needed time back in your day. If you want to add a little structure, the free daily schedule tool from Wide Open School takes the guesswork out of planning. You can also tap into their library of lessons, activities and ideas for kids of all ages. Looking for more free learning tools? Try one of these:
Choose from a variety of interactive lessons in STEM, music and literacy at Camp Wonderopolis, an online learning destination that plays into children’s natural intrigue and curiosity.
Explore games and activities in a range of topics with this science website for kids from the American Museum of Natural History.
Your local library might be more high-tech than you think. Most started digitizing their libraries years ago and some even have their own app! With audiobooks, ebooks, movies, and music available online, the options are endless.
Your kids might be getting way more screen time than they did before, and that’s ok. Things are different, so your rules can be different too.
However, if you want to switch things up, it’s easy to work in some screen-free storytelling. If you don’t already have some in rotation, try out a new podcast, like these kid-approved options from National Public Radio. Check to make sure the length and the subject matter is appropriate for the right age group, and you’re good to go.
Help Them Learn to Cook
Involving your kids in meal prep is not just a fun way to spend time together. Cooking provides lots of learning opportunities, like how to safely operate a sharp knife, new vocababulary words to master and ways to practice reading and simple math skills. If you let your kids help choose produce at the store and keep them involved throughout the cooking process, it may even help curb picky eating. Whether or not you’re working while your kids are home, teach them a few simple recipes they can do on their own for breakfast or lunch. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches, baby carrots and hummus or turkey wraps are just a few ideas to get you started. If your kids prepare their own meals, it will give you more free time and inspire important life skills like independence and confidence. Now that’s a win-win.