Making the Summer of 2020 Family Friendly
Part of the fun of summer is the pure celebration of the season. Make some memories and consider adding a few new traditions-perhaps a bike ride and ice cream sundae party every Friday evening or movie night and popcorn at home on Mondays. Here are a few of my favorite summer activities to inspire you:
- Build tree forts together and watch out – this is always a very popular summer project and one where they love to have input along the way. Let them “plan the fort”, then help them figure out lumber needs and be in charge of the construction of the tree fort that they will never forget.
- Take bike rides together, and don’t forget helmets, masks, or whatever else you all may need.
- Sunday sundaes are something that they can look forward to, when they get to create their own ice cream masterpieces.
- Spend a day blowing bubbles or flying kites together. Remember to take pictures of the fun!
- One afternoon, go cloud-watching together. Watch the clouds for wild animal shapes while lying flat on your back in the grass.
- Spend a day creating a make-believe town with chalk on the driveway or sidewalk together, letting imagination run free.
- Have s’mores nights throughout the summer. Enough said. S’mores can fix anything.
- Laugh through watermelon seed-spitting contests in the back yard.
- See who can carefully capture the most fireflies in a plastic container (to be released that same evening).
- Spend as many nights as possible, getting out of the house to go star watching. Using a picnic table or blankets and pillows, build a comfy family spot to watch the stars come out at night. Be sure to take along a children’s book on constellations and stars and get them started finding the constellations in the sky. By the end of the summer, they will be able to point them out on their own. Perhaps the end of the summer could be spent learning to use a telescope or binoculars, letting them see the rings of Saturn, and so much more.
- Make homemade ice cream with a hand-crank ice cream maker.
- Run through a sprinkler in the yard on hot afternoons, creating an obstacle course to run through while getting soaked by the sprinkler.
- Go to drive-in movies with the whole family. Some of the Walmart stores are offering drive-in movie nights in their parking lots.
- Let every person decide a dinner menu for his/her Chef Night. They get to pick the dinner menu, make a grocery store list of the things they will need for their creation, and then go (with the family) to purchase the items they will need from their lists. Then, each person has to make dinner one night that week for the whole family. This can be hilarious, and so what if they want to have ice cream sundaes for dinner? Just have fun with it.
- Create a scavenger hunt for your back yard, writing down tips and hints and picking fun prizes for the winners.
- Family jigsaw puzzles can be a great distraction when you want to leave the television turned off and the conversations to increase. Depending on the ages of your children, you can find some fun puzzles online at Walmart or Amazon. Set up a card/folding table if you don’t have a place to leave the puzzle up for a few days, until it is completed. You can also order the puzzle glue from Walmart or Amazon, so that the puzzle can be preserved and hung in the hall, basement, or wherever they can see them and remember the time together.
- Thursday Night Bingo Night can be fun, too. Collect some interesting small prizes and put them in lunch-size brown paper bags, stapling them shut as you collect them. When someone yells “Bingo”, they get to choose one of the paper bags to open and see what they have one. From flip flops to inflatable beach balls, funny t-shirts to wind-up model airplanes, the prizes can be so funny!
This summer is so different from any other that any we have experienced. Dealing with the stresses and trials along the way can be hard on family life, and even harder on children that really don’t understand what is happening. Remember, your children have never experienced a summer like this one, either. They are very sensitive to change, both emotional and physical. They can become just like mirrors, reflecting what they see at home. For example, if you are afraid and let them see your fear, they can become fearful. If you are angry and show your anger in front of them, they learn to show anger in the same way. Try to be encouraging with them. Explain what’s going on and how all of this might impact them – at their school, with their neighborhood playmates, delaying youth activities and sports, etc. They need to know that they can count on you, no matter what happens. They need to know that God is with your family, and that He cares more than they can imagine. Stability, encouragement, shelter, and love – these are things that you can reinforce in the days ahead.
This summer will be memorable, and it is my prayer that you and yours make time for fun, set aside time to help others that are struggling, and pray together to share everyone’s concerns and praises.