The summer months are a favorite time for family fun. Most years people plan family vacations or stay-cations, where they enjoy time together traveling, going to fairs and amusement parks, and enjoying visiting family out of town. Since COVID-19, summer 2020 has taken on a vastly different vibe, with social distancing and travel cancellations. However, this summer can still be fun by creating new routines. Here are a few ways to make this summer different but enjoyable.
Rituals help us feel connected to each other. Unfortunately, many rituals have been cancelled this summer, such as graduation ceremonies, proms, end of school picnics, etc. Therefore, we have to create new ways to celebrate these important moments and rites of passage. Families have been planning mini graduation celebrations with friends and local family driving by in cars festooned with balloons and beeping their horns as the graduate stands in front of their home. Distant family members are having Zoom parties or sending video clips to the graduate. Favorite dinners from local restaurants are being picked up via car-side so the grads can enjoy their favorite foods. This is also being done for those with summer birthdays. Another popular re-created ritual is called the “un-prom” where teenagers decorate their living rooms with crepe paper and balloons, dress up in fancy clothes, and then Facetime or Zoom their friends with favorite music playing. The important thing is to create something meaningful to fill the void.
Enjoy a Regular Picnic
With some beaches and parks opening up as states move into different phases with COVID-19, there is still concern about crowds. But often times these places are empty as dinnertime arrives. These off hours can be the perfect time to take the family to the park for a picnic dinner while still practicing social distancing. By planning it as a weekly event, it allows for excitement and meal prep. You can make favorite sandwiches, cold chicken or even pick up a car-side pizza to go. Bring some fun games like Frisbee to pass the time. As long as we plan and keep it simple, it will be a joy rather than an overwhelming task. Getting outside away from the house, even for an hour or two, can refresh everyone.
Explore in the Car
Pack everyone in the car with some snacks and head out for a drive. It can be along a scenic route in the mountains, by the beach, or on a route that is new. Keep it short enough to avoid bathroom stops or prepare for that issue ahead to prevent having to go to rest stops. Exploring new areas and seeing beautiful landscapes will create memories and change your perspective.
Create a Different Type of Menu
Instead of the standard bacon, eggs, and toast, think up some fresh, new foods to change up the routine. How about breakfast tacos, or waffle sandwiches for weekend breakfast. Snacks can be fruit kabobs with pudding and whipped topping as a dip. And don’t forget to make that summer favorite, S’mores. You can make them on the BBQ, in the oven, or in the microwave– whichever works for you. Another fun and easy recipe is to create your own individual pizzas using Boboli pizza crusts with healthy toppings. Many adults are creating new mocktails to enjoy. While rosé wine, margaritas and piña coladas are favorite summer cocktails, you can create mocktails without the alcohol when you are watching the kids 24/7.
As the daylight lasts longer in the summer months, allow your children to stay up an hour or so later. This extra time makes the days seem longer and evening routines more relaxed. Family movie or game nights need not be rushed. Kids can play in the yard collecting those lightning bugs even longer. As school time approaches, whether it will be in a classroom setting or virtual, start to adjust bedtimes back to normal.
By taking the time to make this different type of summer special and honor the routines you normally enjoy in a new way, you can still have fun and embrace these months with the family. Be sure to take photos and create a summer 2020 photo album to remember this crazy time for years to come.