How To Have The Most Fun This Summer With Your Kids

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How To Have The Most Fun This Summer With Your Kids

Are you feeling like your world has been turned upside-down since COVID-19 entered our lives? Uncertainty remains as the discussion of re-opening occurs, while cases and deaths continue to rise.

Many camps and other children’s programs have been canceled or have gone virtual. Parents are looking for fun, safe summer activities to keep their kids happy. 

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All parents want their kids to have a fun and memorable summer.

It's important to look for the silver lining and make the most of this summer with your kids.

Here are 5 fun summer activities you can do with your kids for a memorable summer.

1. Do fun "throwback" summer activities from your childhood. 

One definite perk of the pandemic has been re-connecting with your children while you're forced to stay at home.

In spite of moms and dads having to juggle working remotely and taking care of their kids, many parents admit to savoring the time at home with their children.

May I suggest a throwback summer? Perhaps the kind of summer your mom, dad, or grandparents experienced when they had fewer resources than you.

I am thinking of the summers my brother and I enjoyed in the 1950s and '60s. My parents couldn’t afford to send us to day camp, and my mother took a leave from her job to spend the summers with us.

At the time, I admit I was peeved about not going to camp with my classmates.

However, when I think back to those summer vacations, my memories are pretty fabulous. Innocence and pure joy is associated with them.

My mom allowed my brother and me to each bring along a friend. We traveled on subways, buses, and boats the entire summer.

We watched the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge being built from Shore Road Park, spent hours at Coney Island and Brighton Beach, swimming, collecting seashells, going on rides, and staying for the evening fireworks while eating kosher hot dogs.

My brother taught me how to swim in the Atlantic Ocean, we took boat rides to Bear Mountain and West Point, ferry-hopped to Staten Island and Lower Manhattan, and so much more.

2. Plan outdoor activities.

My mother’s mantra was fresh air and sunshine, and we weren't permitted to sit home and watch TV.

Well, guess what? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say it’s safer to be outdoors, so get moving!

Take advantage of the sunshine and warm weather and get out there! Over the course of your walk, play "I Spy," or "20 Questions" with your children. Carry something in your hand, and have your kids guess what's in there.

Have you heard of "Car Color?" Each person chooses a car color before you start your walk and tallies how many of their colored cars they see. Whoever has the highest total when you arrive at your destination wins.

Warmer weather and sunlight of the summers actually make you feel happier, more creative, and more focused.

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On sunny days, our brain produces more serotonin, a mood-lifting chemical. Sunlight is also a natural source of vitamin D, which helps you fight various diseases.

Pack a fun breakfast or buy some assorted takeaway items and drinks (like fruit and breakfast bars) from the supermarket, and head to the park before it gets too hot. Don’t forget to bring a ball or Frisbee!

You might discover something you never noticed before. If you get out early, you can find a nice spot and have a socially-distant breakfast in the park.

Or sit on a bench and look at the amazing skyline, talk about everything out there. You can point out different buildings, or make up stories about people you see.

3. Introduce them to games you loved as a kid.

What were some of your favorite summer activities or memories? Consider teaching your children some of the old-school backyard games, like Red Light, Green Light, 1-2-3, or Red Rover.

Share with your children what you liked best about the summer or loved doing as a child. Was it the smell of the ocean, building a sandcastle at the beach, or having a barbecue in the backyard?

You could can even go camping in your own backyard, or organize scavenger or treasure hunts. Your kids could even build a tent in the den, or download a self-guided tour of your city and go together.

Your children will have fun, get some sunshine and exercise, and will learn some U.S. history, to boot.

Walking across bridges or local landmarks can also be an adventure. Inspire your children to use their imagination. Who else may have walked across the bridge? Who knows how old it is or how long it took to build?

Take advantage of those teachable moments. Teachable moments — those times when your children have an opportunity to learn something new — don’t just occur in a classroom.

My physical therapist, Hannah, shared a summer idea make sure you do something every day to make your kids sweat!

Physical activity is wonderful for the body and mind. It improves energy levels, mood, and cognitive abilities, helps keep you at a healthy weight and makes sure to keep your kids' still-growing bodies strong.

4. Get creative!

Learn a fun new skill or sport as a family: Try juggling, roller-skating, soccer, piñata making, rock painting, or whatever sparks your children’s interests.

The family that plays sports together bonds and stays physically fit. Teaching a sport to your child helps build their confidence and learn about teamwork and good sportsmanship.

Don’t forget to have a family meeting and vote on group activities! Family puzzles are fun, or do Zumba, or turn on a dance-along video on YouTube.

Who doesn’t like ice cream or smoothies in the summer? Making your own ice cream is a popular family activity this summer.

5. Get your hands dirty!

Exercise your green thumb and do some planting. Gardening gets your kids outside, gives them skin in the game by growing their own food, teaches them science and healthy eating, and so much more.

Kara Murphy recommends a "themed" garden, such as a pizza garden that includes your favorite vegetables to put on pizza.

Summer is also an ideal time for your children to read just for fun — not for a school assignment.

Encourage them to write letters (a lost art) or emails to a different friend or family member each day, or even to find a pen pal they can exchange summer letters with.

Wishing you a healthy and safe summer with lots of opportunities to create new and joyful memories together!

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Ellen Kamaras is a life and organizational coach whose specialties include: relationship-coaching for singles, individuals seeking to reinvent themselves, empty-nesters looking for new purpose and fulfillment, and individuals who want to get “unstuck” but are afraid to take risks.