As the 2019-20 school year comes to an end, some parents are scrambling to find ways to keep their children active and engaged. Many summer camps and programs have either been reduced to accommodate social distancing or canceled altogether. Daycare centers are starting to reopen in some places, which is great for parents who have to leave the home for work, however, parents like me who are working remotely for the foreseeable future, are still in need of options.
While I'm not looking to fill my daughter's schedule up with activities, I do want to make sure she's able to learn new things and have some sense of normalcy. We did swimming lessons and tennis for her last summer, and she was looking forward to doing both again this year. Now that both programs are canceled, I wanted to round up a few options for us as we navigate into summer amid COVID-19. Below are a few things I'm incorporating in our summer schedule that may be helpful for others.
- Resource Hubs: Toys R Us (Play @ Home Theater) and Nickelodeon (#KidsTogether) have made it easier for families by creating resource hubs to house interactive activities and content in one place. I mentioned Toys R Us in a previous post, however, Nickelodeon is providing kid-appropriate, kid-directed information through original short-form videos, interstitials, downloadable activities, and social content via a central online destination, NickHelps.com. They have also hosted a few virtual events featuring celebs and influencers to keep kids encouraged.
- Online Workshops: Many retailers are accustomed to hosting free in-store workshops and events to engage children. Now, many have been forced to move these courses online. Craft retailer, Michael's has a full online schedule of Kids Club Classes you can sign your little ones up for. While I didn't find any listings for Home Depot online kids workshops, they have a few activities for previous and upcoming workshops available here that may be of interest.
- Virtual Camps: I'll be honest, I was initially a bit skeptical about this concept because it felt like just another extension of elearning via Zoom or Google Classroom at first. That was, until one of my best friends shared a link to Varsity Tutors free virtual summer camps. These are week-long sessions with a variety of options like coding, yoga, move making, web design, etc. These camps are organized by age/grade level with options for 4-18-year-olds.
- Outdoor Play: With the abundance of virtual activities and resources, we sometimes forget about good ole fashioned outdoor fun. I've been picking up small outdoor items like catch & toss sets, ring toss and jump ropes to give us more variety. We also have bikes, scooters, hula hoops and more to keep us active this summer.
There are a variety (maybe a little too many) resources available for people of all ages to remain safely entertained and engaged as we shift into a new sense of normalcy.