Finding creative, safe things to do with your kids this summer
It is inevitable that this summer will look very different for children and parents. Instead of sleep away camps and family vacations, it is likely that we will spend much more time at home this summer. Not only is it difficult to find enjoyable activities for your children, there is now an added element of making sure they stay safe. Every parent is different and it is important to know that you can make your own decisions for what is best for you family. I've compiled a list of activities that should be fun, safe, and enriching for your kids, most of which can be done at home or within your neighborhood. It is important to note that kids and teens may experience increased stress, anxiety, and depression this summer due to both the change of routine as well as the anticipation and uncertainty of what school may look like in the fall. For this reason, it is essential that we make sure our children have structure, a place for emotional and creative expression, and plenty of physical exercise, ideally in nature. Below are some examples that might help:
1. Pitch a tent and camp in the backyard. If you don’t have a fire pit, parents can toast marshmallows on a gas stove and bring them outside to make s’mores.
2. Physicians and the CDC seem to agree that COVID-19 cannot spread through recreational pool water. Although you will still need to maintain social distance, plan a pool day with a neighborhood family.
3. Experiencing nature and the outdoors is beneficial for you child's physical and emotional well-being. Try nature walks with a scavenger hunt to identify local birds and plants.
4. Although I do suggest as many outdoor activities as possible, children utilizing their creativity is also important for emotional expression and can reduce stress and anxiety. Try making tie dye t-shirts, jewelry, and other crafts.
5. Since we have limited access to dining out, try to make cooking at home more special and fun. Make homemade mozzarella earlier in the week and have a Friday pizza night. Creating structure during the week is important to reduce the risk of summer burnout, depression, and anxiety.
6. Maintaining healthy eating habits also contribute to your child's emotional functioning. Younger kids love chopping vegetables with these. Make a summer vegetable soup with left over fresh produce.
7. Help your children learn mindfulness and relaxation by practicing Yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube is a great place to start.