Pretty much everybody has had their lives majorly disrupted by the global Covid-19 pandemic. However, this unprecedented worldwide event has affected parents much more than most others. Around the world, schools have been closed for several months now, and a tentative crawl has replaced the usual action-packed summertime out of lockdown. Unfortunately, it has also made the typical holiday abroad with the kids largely impossible, with the large majority of people now turning to “staycations”.
So, are you staycationing this summer? If so, one of the main priorities will be how to keep the kids busy, especially if you are looking to relax too. The situation is more urgent now than ever, especially since most children haven’t been to school in several months now. Luckily there are an almost infinite amount of fun activities one can do more or less exclusively from home, and you may find that they end up fostering closer relationships in the long run too. Keep reading for some suggestions of what to do with the kids if you are staycationing this summer.
Inspire Your Kids to Learn a Musical Instrument
One of the coolest ways of keeping your children occupied throughout the year is encouraging them to learn a musical instrument such as guitar or piano. This is also something that has been shown time and time again to have a massive impact on young people’s cognitive development. Of course, it will take a while before your child has grasped the basics, a period of time that isn’t always sonically pleasant. However, the rewards are more than worth it in the long run.
If your children are learning different instruments, you can even have a go at making a family band! A beautiful example of this is from a band called Papa Bear & His Cubs in the 60s, who recorded two songs, “Sweetest Thing on This Side of Heaven” and “You’re So Fine”. As you might have guessed from the name, the band was actually made up of Eddie Disnute Sr and his six kids, something to take inspiration from if you are staycationing this Summer.
Run Weekly Sporting Competitions
It is incredibly important that you keep active in these strange and tumultuous times, just as much as your children. Exercise has been clearly shown to be one of the best ways to combat stress, and it is also essential for a general well-rounded sense of well-being. So why not run weekly sporting competitions, much in the same vein as the kids would have with Sports Day at school?
Not only is this good for health, but it can also help to mitigate the boredom that many children must be feeling after several months cooped up indoors, without any of their school friends or typical outside activities.
Encourage Communal Arts & Crafts Sessions
Another great thing to do whilst staycationing with the kids this summer revolves around communal arts & crafts sessions, helping to establish a greater focus on creativity over this time. It does not take a genius to understand quite how much kids love arts & crafts. Just consider the success of programs such as SMART and Art Attack.
And you don’t have to be an artistic genius yourself to have fun with these sessions, as a huge part of arts & crafts is just experimenting and enjoying the creation process, rather than placing too much emphasis on the actual end result. So get the paints out, and get those hands dirty. The children will massively appreciate it!
Explore the Wonders of the Natural World
Lockdown was a stressful and uncertain time. There is no question about that. However, one small positive from everything was that many people rekindled a relationship with the natural world. This is all but lost in many parts of modern life, especially those of us who live in intensely urban city centres. The health benefits of the natural world are well documented by now, and the future of the human race also depends, in part, on our insistence on teaching the younger generation about the environment.
With so many people staycationing this summer, it is the perfect time to explore some of the world’s amazing natural wonders. The good thing about this is that there are plenty of localised areas where this is possible. So if you are lucky enough to live near a large forest or park, the world is your oyster, and the kids will love the sense of adventure.
Catch up on Missed School Work
Okay, this isn’t something that your kids will be especially happy about now, but they will massively appreciate it when they grow older. Schoolchildren worldwide have missed several months of education now, so it is essential that parents also push them to catch up on missed school work from time to time.
Not only is this a good way of passing the time (and something that you can hopefully let your children get on with on their own), but it will also do wonders for your child’s cognitive development, as well as all-around education.
Learn a New Language Together
Several studies have shown that children find it a whole lot easier to learn new languages than adults, so now is the perfect time to try and learn a new language with your children. The benefits to being bi-lingual are numerous, and the process of learning a new language complete with different grammatical structures and pronunciations has also been proven to have immensely positive effects on kids’ brains as a whole.
Sure, you may be staycationing this summer, but what about next summer? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a basic grasp of the language used in your favourite foreign tourist destination? Helping your kids learn a language is a present they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, and now is the perfect time to start.
Engage in Group Baking
Over the past few months, things like baking flour were in very short supply, and that is because many people were finding a new hobby in baking. Programmes like The Great British Baking have been accentuating the popularity of baking for several years now, however people finally had the time to bake on mass due to the global pandemic, and it has become a massive trend.
The great thing about baking is that it is also something that can be an enjoyable activity for the kids, especially if you are making elaborately shaped cookies or cakes, for instance. So, again, not only is this a fun way to staycation this summer, but you will also be teaching your kids valuable lessons in cooking and baking, something that will be crucial when they eventually come to fly the nest.
Think up Some Fun Practical Science Lessons
Science can be fascinating for young children, especially with practical science lessons and experiments. There is a growing market for this kind of thing in the 21st century, with various kits with explosive and entertaining results. This is yet another great way to keep the kids interested throughout this strange summer, and it will also serve them in good stead when they return to school.
Homestyle science experiments can be as simple as you would like to, ranging from the age-old mentos in coke trick all the way through to different observations made in the garden or experiments with magnets and electrical circuits.
Play Board Games Such As Risk or Monopoly
The 21st century has been somewhat overrun by video games, especially in the younger generations, and whilst this isn’t always a bad thing, it has served to disenfranchise the world of board games. And what is better than a cosy summer evening at home playing a game of Risk or Monopoly with the family? It is nice to get your children into the habit of playing games as a family too, or else you could end up with teenagers who do nothing but play video games in their room.
Furthermore, board games in the same vein as Risk or Monopoly actually have a great deal of strategy behind them too, so playing them frequently with your children could really help their mental development and critical thinking. There is a reason why humans have been playing some form of board game for the past several thousand years!
Encourage Story Writing and Reading
Keeping your children creative is one of the main goals behind many of these staycation tips, and encouraging story writing and reading is probably the best way to do this. Children’s imaginations are second-to-none, and if you can help them cultivate this through creative writing, there is genuinely no limit to the amount of fun that can be had.
And again, encouraging story writing and reading not only keeps your kids happy and fulfilled, but it will also really help them when school term-time comes back around.