While many states have relaxed their regulations on lockdown, the threat of coronavirus still looms over. It is probably safe to say that it will take a while before things get back to normal. People are trying to adapt to the new normal, but it should not compromise engaging family time with your children, especially during the summer. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to explore summer activities for kids that are different from what you normally do while still observing social distancing.
Here are some social distancing summer activities you can do with your family:
1. Go on a Family Camp
In order to reduce the potential exposure to the coronavirus, some traditional summer camps are pivoting to be family camps. Family camps accommodate small groups rather than bringing 40 children together. In fact, you don’t even need to pay to go to a summer camp. You can host one in your own backyard (or front yard) with your family. Invite a couple of children over and have an amazing experience with these ingenious social distancing summer camp backyard camping tips.
2. Grow a Butterfly
Yes, you heard that right. Give your children a glimpse of the fascinating world of metamorphosis and inspire a love for scientific discovery by getting them their own butterfly kit from companies like insectlore.com. Growing their own butterfly helps develop children’s observational skills and teaches them about life cycles and the responsibility of caring for living things while also sparking an interest in nature.
3. Get Involved in a Baking Challenge
I’ve never met a child that does not like baking. If you haven’t tried baking with your toddler yet, you really should – sometimes it’s not even about the finished product. It’s about the process and the amount of involvement children are willing to put in. Mixing, pouring, and stirring can be so much fun! Plus, you get to eat what you make after. These simple toddler baking recipes should give you a good starting point when introducing baking to your little one.
4. Travel the World Virtually
One of the many consequences of the lockdowns across the world is that almost every establishment is closed. These include cultural venues such as cinemas, music clubs, theaters, and museums. On the bright side though, many of these museums have enabled alternative ways to experience their exhibitions and collections which don’t require the physical presence of visitors. These international museums are currently offering virtual visits and online interactive visiting experiences.
Exploring the history of other countries without the need for a passport is one of the best social distancing summer activities in our opinion:
Vatican Museums (Rome/Vatican City)
MoMA The Museum of Modern Art (New York City, United States)
The Louvre (Paris, France)
Centre Pompidou (Paris, France)
Victoria & Albert Museum (London , UK)
Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum (Madrid, Spain)
Google Arts & Culture
5. Create Non-Traditional Forms of Art
Coloring has been one of children’s all-time-favorite activities. It’s benefits include improving motor skills, confidence and self-esteem, and hand-to-eye coordination, to name a few. But after staying in the house for a while, many kids will already be bored of the traditional coloring activities. Spice it up using different materials and mediums. Here are non-traditional coloring ideas to add to your that will surely keep your children busy and entertained for hours:
- Grab some street chalk and create unique art on the driveway or sidewalk.
- Color your heart out with reusable silicone coloring placemats. SunZio coloring placemats for kids are made with materials that are 100% safe. They can be used like a regular placemat for dining. They are also perfect for keeping your toddler entertained for hours since they can wipe these mats clean on their own and reuse them.
- Indulge in bathtub painting using whipped cream mixed with food coloring.
- Make a stained glass mosaic on your glass window using some tape and watercolor.
6. Make Your Own Beach!
Travel restrictions keeping you from going to the beach? Take the beach to your home instead! Turn a corner of your backyard into a seashore and put up an inflatable pool. You can even make a sandy sensory bin that your toddler will surely enjoy and learn from.
If you are lucky enough to live close to the beach, you can still practice social distancing should you decide to go. After all, being out in the sun is good for growing children.
7. Put up a Garden and Watch Your Plants Grow
Now would be the perfect time to plant some seeds and create a garden with the kids, especially if you live in a warmer climate. Children are naturally curious and they love to play in the dirt. By working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. Gardening teaches children an important life skill and is also a great way to teach environmental awareness at a young age.
There are many crops suitable for the young gardeners but here are our recommendations if you are just starting out. These crops are relatively easy to grow, have short growing seasons, and are fun to harvest.
- Sunflower – Who doesn’t like sunflowers? They instantly brighten anyone’s mood and it only takes about a total of 8 weeks for the flowers to grow. Be sure to grow ‘confectionery’ sunflowers, the type grown for food. They will dry naturally in the late summer sun and the seeds can be roasted for snacks.
- Cherry Tomatoes – Aside from strawberries, these may be the most fun crop for a child. Growing season is 50-75 days. They can also be grown in containers.
- Pumpkin – This is a must-have for every kid’s garden even if they take a lot of space. Seeds will sprout in about one week and take about 80 – 120 days to harvest. Once ready for harvest, the seeds can be dried to eat or saved for future planting.
8. Play Outside
Our bodies work best when they get sunshine every day. Sun exposure is essential in making vitamin D, a vitamin that plays a crucial role in many body processes such as bone development and strengthening our immune system.
Children should be active for an hour every day, and getting outside to play is one way to be sure that they are getting enough exercise. Sending them outdoors encourages active play, which is really the best exercise for children. This, in our opinion, is one of the most important social distancing summer activities on this list.
9. Learn to Play an Instrument
Music is a universal language. It lets us connect and communicate without speaking. Seeing a toddler naturally start to bounce to music or bang his hands on a table when he hears a beat is proof that this is true. You don’t have to explain the concept of music to him – he just gets it!
Studies have proven that music has a profound effect on young children’s brains. New research shows that making music has even more developmental benefits than simply listening to it or observing someone play an instrument. This is one of the reasons why it’s so beneficial for toddlers to experiment with musical instruments.
Allowing toddlers to experiment with musical instruments promotes physical development in a variety of ways. For instance, drumming with an open hand can help build gross motor skills, while learning to tap each finger on a piano or hold a drumstick strengthens fine motor skills. Playing an instrument supports sensory development, improves hand-eye coordination, teaches patience and perseverance and can help accelerate brain development.
Learning to play an instrument at home is possible due to the number of schools offering online music courses these days. Learning for yourself and teaching your toddler is also a great way to bond and spend quality time together.
10. Go on a Wilderness Adventure
Nothing beats a good old outdoors adventure with your family. Planning a hiking or backpacking adventure alone is fun. Doing it with your family is even better. This activity is perfect for those families who want their children exposed to nature but still restricted in terms of their social interactions. Make sure to read these tips to ensure a stress-free adventure.
While current times may force us to alter the way we connect with other people, we will never run out of ways to engage with our loved ones. These social distancing summer activities may be different from what you might have expected, but they are perfect alternatives to digital screens, and encourage kids to focus on nature and the real world.