By Marté J. Matthews, LMFT
You probably had some great plans brewing for the summer of 2020 before Covid 19 came along, didn’t you? Were you thinking about a vacation, some local excursions, or maybe a fun science or sports camp for the kids? Now we realize “opening up” is going to be a slower process than we ever imagined. Now we need back up plans for the summer. If you’re sticking close to home, here are some ideas-both online and unplugged- to get you started thinking about summertime.
Try virtual tours of future vacation spots on Google Earth. You can virtually take a walk along The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, explore the Road to Hana on Maui, or zoom across the Brooklyn Bridge-or anywhere else on our planet. Try all the different views to explore a new part of the world!
Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium to watch the penguins, sea otters, shorebirds and jellyfish.
Chabot Space & Science Center is in the Oakland Hills, but now you can visit their Learning Launchpad for great ideas about experiments and fun ways to explore science from home.
Ready for a National Park get-away? Try visiting some of our national treasures.
Explore museums of the world.
Interested in taking a tour of other museums, zoos & aquariums, or theme parks? Check out Good Housekeeping's list of best virtual tours.
Ready for more theme parks? Check out the collection of amusement park rides on YouTube by searching for your favorite theme parks by name. Go for the immersive experience if you have a projector or big screen TV: sit together and play along as you climb the hills and scream around the corners, all from the comfort of your living room or backyard.
Choose a free or low-cost class or two for each of the kids, just for fun to try a new interest:
Outschool.com with offer live online classes for kids, 3-18. Topics include Arts, English, Life Skills, Music, Social Studies, Coding & Tech, Health & Wellness, Math, Science & Nature, World Languages
Khan Academy offers many classes: Imagineering In a Box and Pixar In a Box, just to name two!
Varsity Tutors are offering one week camps for only 1-2 hours a day for students K-12 in a variety of subjects for academic remediation, enrichment, or just for fun.
WideOpenSchool.org has an amazing list of webinars and events for even more ideas!
Check with your favorite summer camps to see what alternatives they are offering this summer. Some of our favorites are:
I.D.Tech offers online summer camps and private lessons in programming for ages 7-19
Ready to unplug? Keep reading…
Are you ready to hide the laptops and tablets, or maybe lose them altogether? Before you do, check out some of these fun Unplugged Suggestions.
Take some hikes and walks. Enjoy the county park trails and regional open spaces across Santa Clara County. Before you go, be sure to check out the website to see what parks and trails are open, and if restrooms are open. Be sure to “pack it in & pack it out” since trash service is suspended during the pandemic.
Make getting out for a walk with kids more fun: Scavenger hunts? Photography? Color walks? Try a different idea every week. Have fun with it!
Are the kids ready for bike rides further from home? Check out the Bicycle Coalition's Bike Maps for tips and suggestions for great areas for a bike trails with the family.
Summer Olympics are cancelled, but you can create plenty of active fun! This would be a great time to go ahead and splurge on some fun sports gear to use in the backyard. Try some games that are just fun, What can you make with pool noodles and hula hoops? in addition to the more structured sports like a soccer ball or badminton rackets & shuttle cocks. Get the kids busy by creating and running obstacle courses on the side walk or back yard. See who can up & over, under & through to get to the finish line faster! (It’s OK to let the kids win this one!)
Once the nights get warmer, try star gazing, outdoor movie nights and back yard camping.
If you’re ready for some time indoors, try board or card games. But games don’t have to be competitive! Companies like Peaceable Kingdom and Gamewright have a great selection of cooperative board & card games. This guide will help give you tips about how the games play, which games can be adjusted for younger players and are the easiest to learn how to play.
Try building & creating things! What would the kids enjoy? Fairy garden? Bird house? KiwiCrate has kits for kids at different ages and with different interests.
MelScience has monthly science kits with three experiments every month for the older kids.
Take a look at this article if your child is ready for more subscription ideas.
Sure, kits are available to order online, but consider getting that pile of wood scrap out and giving the kids a chance to just pound some nails and create! Speaking of scraps this is a great opportunity to clear out the craft supplies! Try making projects with all those leftover bits and pieces from projects you have made before! Old magazines? Beads & buttons? Yarn, glitter and glue. They all make amazing collages! Take it outside on an old sheet. This is going to get messy!
We hope these ideas will help get your family started with some good old-fashioned summer fun!