You’ve probably never planned a summer in the midst of a world pandemic. So, it’s no secret that this year’s summer is going to be different. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and full of wonderful memories. But you do need to be intentional about what you plan, how you make it happen, and how you can keep your family safe while they have fun.
Outdoor Activities are Fun & Socially Distant
COVID-19 mostly spreads through close person to person contact. That’s why social distancing, or staying 6 feet away from others is so important. Indoor activities have limited space which can risk the safety of your family. Outdoor activities, on the other hand, make social distancing easy. They’re wide, vast, and open. Some great outdoor activities you might consider planning include:
- Horseback riding
- Playing sports with family and a small number of friends. We recommend trying out badminton, volleyball, football, soccer, basketball, Frisbee, and baseball
- Bike riding
- Go rollerblading
Physical Fitness Feels Good, is Fun, and Safe to do at Home
Summer is one of the best times to get outdoors and in shape. It’s even more important to get your family moving since you’ve been stuck at home for weeks. Exercising releases endorphins in your body which can make you feel excited, energetic, and happy. Plus, it’s easy to exercise at home or in a local park which can help keep your family safe from COVID-19. Some good ideas you might want to incorporate into your summer routine include:
- Yoga. Be sure to try yoga as the sun rises or sets, too.
- A dance party or competition with family and close friends
- Rock climbing
- Hula hooping to your favorite music. Try to keep the hoop up until your song ends.
- Jump rope and double dutch competitions
- Outdoor karate, taekwondo, or tai chi classes
- Wii Fit
Water Activities are Always a Win-Win
Hot weather and humidity seem to peak during the month of August which makes it the perfect time to plan water activities. According to the CDC, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can spread in the water, so feel free to swim to your heart’s content and encourage your family to do the same. If you don’t have a pool or your local one is closed, take advantage of other water activities like:
- Water balloon fights
- Water slides which are perfect for the backyard
- Squirt gun fight
- Kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boarding
- Sprinkler games (Twister, Hopscotch, Simon Says, Freeze Tag, Tug of War)
Your Home Can Be an Ultimate Adventure
One of the safest things you can do during the COVID-19 pandemic is to stay home. It might be the last thing you and your family want to do after weeks of stay at home orders, but there are ways you can make staying at home adventurous. You can:
- Set up a camping tent in your backyard and make s’mores
- Go stargazing in your neighborhood or backyard
- Plan a family cooking or baking competition
- Have a campfire in the backyard
- Have a bocce ball and corn hole tournament in the front or backyard
- Make popsicles and fresh-squeezed lemonade
- Have a face-painting contest
You Can Do Your Favorite Vacation Activities on a Staycation
Summer is a great time for a staycation. It’s also a good way to enjoy yourself, spend time with family, explore hidden gems in your state, and keep your family safe. But if you want to make this a summer to remember, you’ll need to get creative. Most of what you love to do on vacation can be done at home, where it’s safe. Some fun, out-of-the-box things you might want to do include:
- Watch a classic, nostalgic movie at a drive-in movie theater
- Visit local museums and attractions
- Host your own film festival by watching series you enjoy (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings etc.)
- Visit an outdoors farmer’s market
- Go for a scenic drive
- Plan a spa day at home with a few friends
Local State Parks Are Great Sources of Fun
It’s easy to forget about them but local state parks are affordable, if not free. Most of them have walking and hike trails, tranquil bodies of water you can fish in or sail on, and historic sites you can learn about. They’re also large so you should have no problem maintaining a 6 feet distance from others. Visit gastateparks.org for a list of all of them, but be sure to check out the following:
- Sweet Water Creek, where your family can camp out in a yurt for a few days.
- Amicalola Falls State Park, which has a beautiful view of a waterfall after a challenging hike.
- Providence Canyon State Park, which has a lovely view of Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.”
- Indian Springs State Park which offers creek wading, miniature golf, geocaching, and a playground.
You Can Travel Domestically but Do So Carefully
If you do decide to travel, be careful. COVID-19 cases are rising in many states so do your research before you decide where you want to go. During your trip keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Wear a mask anytime you’re in a public place.
- Stay away from others and avoid large crowds.
- Bring small bottles of hand sanitizer when you go out.
- If you eat out at restaurants, dine in outdoor areas and ask to be seated away from others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, mouth, and face with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the place you’re staying at daily.
- Monitor your symptoms and check your temperature at least once a day.
This season will certainly be different from previous summer vacations. But you have the power to make it one that’s remembered for positive reasons. Keep it safe, but keep it fun as well. There’s a lot of creative, family-focused things you can do to make this summer as enjoyable as it is safe.
Wishing you a pleasant, refreshing, fun, and safe summer!
Written by Sharita Hanley, MFA (LinkedIn connection)