"What was it like that summer that the whole world shut down?" "What did everyone do?" Children, years and years from now will wonder about Summer 2020. The history books will hold stories about the life we are living right now. It is hard to grasp the enormity of this moment because we are living through it, and sometimes just getting through the day takes all the mental energy we can muster. But this summer is singular (we hope), and if you and your loved ones are healthy, you can try to be in this moment and make it something special. Let your Summer 2020 history be written in a BOLD and FUN font, here are some tips:
Create a Daily Schedule
We are starting our list with something boring but vital. Summer days can blend into one; an hour of screen time can quickly turn into four. But a schedule will organize your day and give everyone a structure. Put breakfast, lunch and dinner on the schedule and make sure everyone has imput so that each person has time for the things that are important to them.
Teacher Tip: Hang that schedule somewhere everyone can see it. Leave room for the unexpected, but keep to it as best you can.
Make a Summer Bucket List
Hold a family meeting, tell everyone to think of five things they want to do this summer. Big or small, put those things on the list. Usually, our summer bucket list has stuff like; Go to a Met Game or Visit a National Park, this summer our sights have to be smaller- Play Every Game in Our Game Closet, Learn How to Make Macarons, Play Kick the Can. Be creative; let your kids do the same.
Teacher Tip: Make your Summer Bucket List into a big poster. Make checkboxes next to each event on your list - checking those boxes adds to the fun.
Plan a Film Festival
The question most asked in our house over the past three months has been, "What movie should we watch?" One way to buy some time between having to scroll through the Netflix catalog once again is to plan film festivals. Pick a genre, a decade, an actor, a director, and curate a list of top-fives. So far, we have had a Film Festivals of; Tom Hanks, the Marx Brothers, Musicals, Alfred Hitchcock, the list of film festival ideas is endless.
Teacher Tip: Print out color copies of the film posters and hang them up it will add some excitement and turn movie night into a special event.
Play Back Yard Games
Growing up in the '80s on Long Island; there was no camp. We played games, climbed trees, collected worms, and made mud cakes. There is a lot of fun to be had in the backyard, and giving our kids the chance to find that out will be good for them.
Here is a quick list of some backyard games: Red Light; Green Light, Four Square, Red Rover, Ghosts in the Grave Yard, Kick the Can, Hopscotch, Chinese Jump Rope, Jacks, Marbles, Simon Says.
Teacher Tip: Give kids the job of researching game rules, have them make a book of back yard games with pictures and instructions.
Host "Shakespeare in the Park" in your Backyard.
This one is for the writer and performers in the family. You can find scripts for children online or have your kids write their own. Hang a sheet between two trees, set up socially distanced blankets, and invite some friends for an evening of outdoor theater. For my birthday this year, my son wrote a play. Then along with his sister and my husband, they performed it for family and me. Best show I've seen all summer!
Create Found Art
A beach walk, a hike, a backyard scavenger hunt each of these activities can be turned into a material-gathering expedition. Found art opens up so many creative possibilities and it's a great way to memorialize a special family day.
Engage in philanthropic projects.
There are many ways to help, and there are many people that need help. Getting the kids involved in projects that give back builds empathy, helps them feel empowered and instills a sense of purpose. Some things they can do:
Start a neighborhood food drive for the local pantry,
Make cards for hospital workers,
Get in touch with local nursing home and see if there is anyone there that needs a phone friend,
Create care packages for essential workers,
Write postcards to government officials about topics they care about
Please share photos if you do any of these ideas. And I'd love to hear your great ideas, so please share them in the comments.