Lots of families are trying to make the most out of a summer that is just not the norm. Social distancing measures may mean that favorite activities aren’t an option. Sports may be cancelled. Camps, too. Some pools are open, but others are shut down for the summer. Even the upcoming school year may be a big question mark.
What are parents supposed to do with cooped up kids climbing the walls? While Coronavirus may have wreaked havoc on our daily routines, a little creative thinking may put the ‘fun’ back in this funky summer. Try these five crazy fun ideas to beat summer boredom.
1. Make Ice-Cream for Dinner!
Yes, dinner should be healthy. But sometimes it’s ok to break the rules. Pick a day this summer and treat kids to ice-cream for dinner. Instead of going out for those cool treats, though, make your own ice-cream at home.
You can buy ice-cream makers at any major discount store (like Walmart or Target) or order one online. The best part about making your own ice-cream is that you choose the flavor(s)! Vanilla is a great choice for sundaes, but chocolate, mint or even cinnamon can spice up your sweet dinner too. You can make coconut ice-cream, avocado ice-cream or other vegan varieties, too!
Don’t make this dinner boring, though. Buy plenty of toppings that will be unforgettable. Gummy bears, nuts (if your kids don’t have allergies), sprinkles, fudge, marshmallows, whipped cream, candy bars, cookies…grab up lots of options, place the toppings in bowls and let kids create a masterpiece.
Is ice-cream for dinner well-balanced and healthy? No it is not. But your kids will likely remember this meal for a very long time. Ice-cream for dinner may be the highlight of this not-so-normal summer.
2. Create Your Own Plushie or Pillow
You’ll need a sewing machine for this craft, and parents need to assist. To create a pillow or plushie, head to the local craft store (or discount store) and pick out some fabric, buttons and felt.
Fabric can be plain or feature a design or pattern—the choice is up to each child. BeezeeArt has a great post about how to create a pattern for a plushie. If you aren’t super artistic, that’s ok. You can draw a big heart, a bear outline, a butterfly or just a circle (to make an emoji). Trace an idea that is easy for you. Don’t think you need to design a masterful looking doll or teddy bear. Remember: this is supposed to be fun for you and your child. So don’t make it stressful!
The easiest way to create a plushie or a pillow is simply by cutting out two pieces of the same picture (two hearts, two bears, etc.) to create a front and back. You will need to sew the patterns inside out.
If you’re just making an easy pillow, you can sew the pieces together after cutting out the patterns. However, for a plushie, have your child decorate the face first. You can add eyes, a mouth or whatever details you want. If parents don’t want to sew the pieces down, then hot glue may be the best choice; only parents should operate the glue gun (that glue is HOT!).
When sewing the pieces together, leave a hole to push in the stuffing. This is the fun part! Let your child stuff their own pillow or plushie. After stuffing, parents should sew the seam either by hand or with a sewing machine.
3. Be Mindful Together, and Embrace Your Inner Yogi
This summer has been stressful for parents and kids. Social isolation may have led to depression or anxiety. Parents should consult their child’s pediatrician when mental health becomes a concern.
However, all families may benefit from embracing a habit of mindful meditation and/or yoga practice. Meditation may help with calming the mind and body. Yoga may help with flexibility—plus, it’s fun!
Meditation isn’t hard to learn. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Kids and parents can listen to calming music, close their eyes and simply focus on breathing in and out.
For families that are interested in adopting a yoga practice into their daily routine, it’s best to begin with easy poses. Parents can find easy yoga videos that are suitable for kids just by looking online. In fact, the YouTube channel Cosmic Yoga for Kids is a great place to learn!
If your child has any medical conditions or special needs, talk to your pediatrician before beginning a yoga practice.
4. No Pool? Sprinklers are Fun!
This summer, pools and bikes have been so popular that many stores couldn’t keep them in stock. If you don’t have a backyard pool—even a small blow-up model—turn on the sprinklers.
Stores sell attachments to make the outdoor hose a fun water playground. You also can try and make a DIY water slide using a roll of plastic. Make sure you apply sunscreen and never leave kids unattended near water!
5. Become an Author, Write a Book!
Yes, your child can be an author this summer. Use construction paper for the cover and lined paper for the body of the story. Encourage children to create their own story book…let them write about anything they wish!
Kids can design their own fun and colorful cover and add their by-line under the title. Parents can bind the book with a row of staples; after the book is published, read the story together. Families can design a book each summer and keep these summer mementos on the bookshelf to enjoy again and again!
This summer might be out of the ordinary, but it can still be filled with extraordinary memories. Think outside the norm to create fun activities that will have lasting nostalgia. Summer fun is as big as your child’s imagination!