There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has thrown families around the world for a loop. Between working from home and homeschooling as well as facing anxiety and uncertainty, this spring has been a challenge, to say the least. Fortunately, summer is just around the corner. And while your children deserve some real R & R, spending the whole summer on the couch is not a great option—they’ll go into the next academic year disengaged and at a disadvantage. That’s why it’s important to offer them opportunities to stimulate their minds in entertaining, low-pressure ways—all while respecting social distancing and stay-at-home recommendations. Here are some of our favorite suggestions for summer activities for 2020:
- Get Lost: Orienteering can be a great way to get outside, get active, and work on spatial reasoning. You can also have the kids plan the route for a summer road trip and calculate mileage and expected travel time (no google maps).
- Crunch Some Numbers: Getting children involved in the family’s finances can be a great way to teach a necessary life skill while also stimulating the math brain. Try involving your children in the family budgeting—have them clip coupons and calculate savings. Maybe they can use the savings for an end of summer reward? Or give them a summer-fun budget to manage for real. If real money is out of the question, dream shop without spending: how would you spend $100? Encourage them to compare prices and get comfortable being strategic about purchases.
- Do it Yourself: Break out easy and fun projects for kids to get their hands dirty, minds busy, and creative juices flowing. Fun DIY projects—like making soap or activities within a Doodle Crate—can be entertaining and stimulating. There are a lot of great activities available online at Michaels and Uncommon Goods, too.
- Grow Together: Plant a raised garden bed with your children. Depending on the size of the garden you want to plant, there are a number of layout options and vegetable varieties. Let your kids take part in planning which vegetables to plant (and how much of each one), tending to the garden, and eventually helping you to cook some simple garden-to-table meals over the summer.
- Be Bookish: Reading shouldn’t stop just because there are no school book assignments. Summer can be a great time to find books on topics that your kids love, articles from age-appropriate magazines, or exciting newspaper clippings that will interest even the most resistant readers. Games or competitions can also be a great way to get your kids consuming language. The Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge (which runs from May to September) is a great option for students who like a challenge.
- Problem Solve: Inspire creative logic and problem-solving skills by completing number games like Sudoku. Or create some friendly competition by hosting a weekly estimation/calculation (balls in a jar, distance to a destination, etc) and offer small prizes. The New York Times also offers some fantastic word games, in addition to their classic crossword puzzles. Games like Spelling Bee and Letter Boxed, are fun and competitive but can also stimulate your child’s vocabulary (though you will need an NYT subscription to access them).
- Learn Something New: It’s easy for kids to get lost in TV and video games over the summer, especially now. Instead of surrendering to distractions, help your child develop a new skill that will set them up for success in school and beyond. The Coding Space, a leading provider of coding education, is offering Camp Coding Space Online starting in June. These virtual group classes, hosted on Zoom, combine project-based coding, exciting STEM-based electives, hands-on and off-screen activities, epic week-long team challenges, theme days, and more.
We strongly believe that students should thrive in and out of the classroom, and summer is a great time to enjoy quality time with your children. Remember: the idea is to just be. Whatever the activity—even if it’s just hanging out at home—be present. Choose an allotted amount of time (thirty minutes, the whole movie, the whole bike ride) and just focus on the here and now. No cell phones, no work emails, etc. Given COVID-19 disruptions, this summer may be exceptional for a whole host of reasons; here’s your chance to make it exceptional for your children, too. For more educational and fun ideas this summer and beyond, don’t hesitate to contact us.