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With summer 2020 upon us, it is time to look ahead to what this summer will hold for kids in the Upstate everywhere. Assuming that some entertainment centers are available, there will likely be smaller numbers of children allowed. Many summer camps have already been cancelled, but others remain open. Even then, some Upstate families are not doing what they have always done. This could be the summer of simplicity. The summer of staying at home, drinking tea and eating watermelon. With that in mind, here are some activities you can do at home and still keep you and your kiddo happy.

1.             Make a chalk obstacle course around the block. Add in hopscotch, follow the lines, jump points, twirling circles, funny walk sections, pushups, high knees, skip steps and hop zones. After you finish creating it, you can play on it. Chances are your neighbors will to. Once it rains, you can make a new one.

2.             Create chalk drawings of animals. Measure out and draw a blue whale or a kiwi bird or a cheetah and really get a sense of how big they are. Using a measuring tape gives your children a great practical math lesson and they do not even realize it.

3.             Make homemade chalk paint and make a collage in the driveway. Afterwards, have them give their plastic toys a bath in the kid pool with bubbles. That counts as fun and a bath for everybody.

4.             Have a family Olympics every day. Make the tallest structure with toothpicks and marshmallows, have a fashion show (the best dressed gets to pick dinner) and run a neighborhood race (the winner gets to pick the movie).

5.             Have a seed-spitting contest with watermelon seeds.

6.             Give a day a theme – like superhero day or pajama day or backwards day – and have everything you do revolve around the theme.

7.             Have your children create a game themselves using hula hoops, paper plates, empty water bottles and rubber bands.

8.             Take up a new venture as a family, like sewing, knitting, crochet or drawing. The detail work will be good for fine motor skills for your child and can sometimes lead to a new hobby.

9.             Add in family exercise sessions to break up the day. Start the day with a yoga session and do cardio or weights in the afternoon. Have a dance party where you learn a new dance.

10.         Make homemade instruments using PVC pipes and plastic bags, Kleenex boxes and rubber bands or old oatmeal containers. When you are done, have a music parade around your lawn.

11.         Make a slip and slide or just go running through the sprinklers. Make homemade bubbles and see who can make the biggest or the one that lasts the longest.

12.         Have a family movie night outside using a sheet and a projector. 

13.         Have your child make shadow drawings on a piece of paper outside and color them. Or take several sheets and tape them together and trace your child’s head and arms to make a hug.

14.         Write letters to their friends and family if you cannot see them in person. You can also get a pen pal.

15.         Go for a bike ride and let your child choose the directions. Take a picnic lunch with you and eat when you get hungry. Be sure to pack lots of water.

16.         Have a seven-dollar dinner where everybody in your family must make a purchase of food for under $7 and prepare it themselves. You could end up with only ice cream or you could have all vegetables. 

17.         Go camping in your backyard.

Danielle Howell Roland is a middle school English and Social Studies teacher. She is a mom to a 7-year-old boy who still thinks mud is a clothing accessory. Her family has two dogs, a few hairless “skinny” pigs and some backyard chickens that make her laugh. She reads whenever and wherever she can.

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