Planning for a Pandemic Summer? We’ve Got You Covered

It was about two weeks ago that I started freaking out about the impending pandemic summer.

Summer break is usually what, ten weeks long? We leave school in June, excited about summer camps, pool days, and lazy nights by the fire roasting marshmallows. By the time we’ve taken all our trips, made all our crafts, and read all our books, it’s time to start getting ready for a new school year.

There’s only one problem:

We’ve already been home together for two and a half months! And that means we’ve already gone through a summer’s worth of activities.

Board games. Outdoor activities. Hiking. Crafts. Ebooks. Audiobooks. LEGOs. Check.

My kids are done. Over it. Had enough. 

So what on earth are we going to do for summer break?  Trips and camps are canceled. Pools are closed. Our favorite play places may not reopen, or we might not feel comfortable going there.

I’ve spent the last few weeks compiling any and every idea I can to help out anyone who is in this same boat. 

Here are some ideas to help you plan for your pandemic summer:

Planning for a Pandemic Summer? We've Got You CoveredTheme Weeks

  • One mom shared the following idea: “Each week I pick a theme (superheroes, monsters, a country, etc) and plan crafts, activities, and meals around the theme.”  I love this idea because you can make this as simple or as complex as you want!
  • Here are some other ways to “theme” your weeks:
    • Olympics (since they’ve been delayed, have your own family games)
    • Favorite Movies or TV series
    • Sports or Hobbies
    • Theater or Literature
    • Music (Genres, Artists, etc)
    • Decades (80’s, 90’s, etc)
  • Another way to “theme” your break is by having a plan for each day. In the past, I wrote about a weekly plan we like to follow, like Make-It Mondays and Trip-It Tuesdays. You can check out the details here and plan your own summer days!

Put Them to Work

“For every job that must be done there is an element of fun!” – Mary Poppins

Even young kids can get in on this! Here is a sample list of extra tasks you can set your kids to doing that also have an “element of fun”:

  • Sort Legos by color 
  • Sharpen all the pencils/colored pencils- make it a race!
  • Have them make birthday cards for the year! Kids can turn blank paper, washi tape, and colorful markers into masterpieces to gift to all your friends and family! 
  • Sort and wrap loose change. Got a change jar that’s getting full? Pick up some paper wrappers and help them practice math skills while they’re at it! Bonus if they get to keep some of the change for the dollar store!
  • Sort old markers. Take off the cap, test it, sort it! Don’t forget to check and see if your school recycles old markers before you toss them!
  • For older kids: Have them inventory their home library and board game closet. It’ll have them reading books and playing games they’ve forgotten about!
  • Shred old bills and papers- set them up with a stack and an electric shredder, and they’re good to go!
  • Wash the car- I have fond memories of helping my mom wash the car in our driveway. Older kids can even do it alone with a little patient instruction!

Learn New Skills

I don’t always have the time or patience to teach them things, and especially if you’re working, you might not either! In this time of technology, help your kids find age-appropriate tutorials online or let them use a kid-safe search engine to learn new skills, and when you do have some time available, consider using it to teach some of these skills:

  • Yo-yo Tricks
  • Easy cooking or baking recipes (spaghetti, scrambled eggs, cookies, etc)
  • Coding (Scratch is my son’s favorite)
  • Slinky tricks
  • Learn how to draw favorite characters (we love ArtHub for Kids!)
  • Make Stop-motion films
  • Photography (great if you have an old camera or phone for practice)
  • Magic Tricks
  • Rubik’s Cube
  • Domino Runs
  • Tying knots and other survival skills (great time to work on Scout achievements!)
  • Skateboard tricks
  • Shadow art
  • Jewelry-making
  • Learn to Hula Hoop
  • Make and Fly Paper Airplanes
  • Frisbee (try the local disc golf course or try to hit a target in your back yard!)

Let Them Be Bored

If there’s anything I’ve learned over these past ten weeks, it’s that I don’t have to entertain my children all day long. I can’t. When you stop taking that responsibility upon yourself, you’ll be surprised with what they come up with.  The key is being willing to say “yes” when you might usually say “no.”  Establish safety parameters and then let go! 

Of course, there’s plenty of the same: hiking, camping, water fun, movies, crafts, board games, etc.

There’s certainly no shame in repeating the same things. But if you need some new ideas for this pandemic summer, I hope this has helped get the wheels turning.

Happy Summer, everyone!

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Valerie Earnest
Valerie grew up Naperville, Illinois, and is a Midwestern girl at heart even though she spent 16 years in Phoenix. She moved to Marion in 2016 with her husband, daughter (14), and two sons (12 and 9). Valerie graduated from BYU with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. She is a former band director, a current substitute teacher and accompanist, and an avid reader and crafter.