Summer Activity Challenge: You Don’t Have to Travel Far for Family-Friendly Fun

After several months at home, planning local outdoor summer activities could be crucial to your family's sanity. Here are some ideas to get started locally.
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Last Updated
April 22, 2019
posted on
July 17, 2020
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2
Minute Read

Parents, as you know, parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic is not for the faint of heart. You got through a surprise semester of homeschooling and now it’s summer. What a relief, right? Maybe not.

Perhaps you had a family trip planned and you had to cancel, or you don’t feel comfortable sending your child to summer camp. The grandparents can’t come to visit and air travel is not an option for most of us right now. This has probably left everyone in the family disappointed, frustrated, and wondering what to do now. Not to mention if you hear the words I’m bored one more time, you really might lose it. 

While I believe boredom is good for kids, and I’ve written about that before, after several months at home as a family, planning a few local outdoor activities this summer could be crucial to everyone’s sanity.

This month I’m posing a series of challenges to keep you and your kids engaged during these long summer days. This week’s challenge? A Summer Activity Challenge. A little thought and planning will go a long way for this challenge,

We grow so accustomed to where we live, we often miss the opportunities for activities right around us: lakes, parks, nature trails.

Spend some time this week making a list of nearby activities you and your family could participate in. If your kids are old enough, have them make a list and do the planning. This is empowering for them and will help them get to know their city better as well as practice their logistical and planning skills. Plus, less work for you! 

Here are some ideas to get you and your kids started:

  • Research a historical event about your city and map out significant locations you can all visit to learn more about it.
  • Start a project in the backyard such as building your own tree house or a raised garden bed.
  • Plan a treasure hunt around town.
  • Use the money you were going to spend on vacation on a fun investment like a canoe, paddleboard, or inflatable pool for the backyard.

 

Every family’s financial situation is different right now, so spending the extra money might not be an option. This is why outdoor activities are ideal. Most of them are free and don’t require much more than packing a lunch. If you live in a big city, many local parks and nature centers are allowing you to make reservations to visit the park on a certain day to ensure safe social distancing. 

My philosophy has always been that parenting is simple, and we tend to make it more complicated than it needs to be. It doesn’t take a fancy trip to make your kids happy. They are often just as content to spend time with you in the backyard observing roly-polies, catching lizards, or watching your tomato plant grow.

Use this Summer Activity Challenge to get back in touch with the simple joys of life. 

You don’t have to travel far to find them.

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

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