Here are some safe, fun summer activities and ideas to get a jump-start on education following an unconventional school year.
Skip to: Road Trips | Academic | Ideas for Teens | Beaches | Babysitting | Pools
As Massachusetts and surrounding states ease restrictions, it might be time to think about hitting the roads to explore the area. Here are some essential things to consider before you pack up the car and head out:
- Be thorough. Consider calling ahead to any place you plan to go. Ask hotel managers how they are ensuring people’s safety. Ask about refund policies, if they reduce capacity, and what cleaning protocols are in place.
- Do your research. What is the current COVID-19 case data at your destination? Is it low, or is the area experiencing a spike in cases?
- Each state is different. Know in advance what the restrictions are.
- Pack masks. It is best to have masks handy for everyone in the family, even if adults are fully vaccinated and especially for children who are not vaccinated. Some businesses require masks, as do hospitals, health centers, and public transportation.
Exploring Your Community
Summer is a great time to get to know your community and explore new destinations and activities in your area. Perhaps a bike trail you have yet to explore or a farm where you can pick your fruit. Many communities are doing creative things to help support local businesses and restaurants — such as blocking the downtown area to promote outdoor dining. Now is the time to get to know your community!
New England beaches are popular in the summer and can be crowded. Here are some tips for enjoying the beach safely:
- Know before you go: Be aware of parking rules and fees. Are the public restrooms open and cleaned often? Is food available at the beach, or will you need to leave your parking spot to get it?
- When you pack up the sunscreen and snacks, be sure you include your mask and a few extras (in case they get blown away or taken by a seagull!).
- Consider going to the beach at off-peak times. Some of the most beautiful, peaceful times at the beach are at dusk as the sun sets, the crowds dissipate, the air cools, and the moon shines. Take a camera for some great shots! You may even save on parking fees at these off-peak hours.
Chlorine indeed kills most germs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to humans through pools, especially pools that are well-maintained and treated with appropriate chlorine levels. However, here are some things to keep in mind if you are at a community or hotel pool this summer:
- If the pool gets busy, hop out and take a break until fewer people are in the water.
- Consider wearing a mask when you are out of the water if it is crowded, especially for children who are not vaccinated yet.
You may need childcare or a babysitter this summer. Here are some tips for a safer childcare experience:
- Candid, open conversations are essential to a healthy sitter/family relationship, during the pandemic and in regular times, too.
- Know if the prospective sitter is fully vaccinated or follows safe practices to prevent getting COVID-19.
- Consider who should wear masks, especially if unvaccinated children are part of the gathering.
- Have a plan if the sitter, child, or family member becomes sick with symptoms of COVID-19.
Keeping Up with Academics
After this tumultuous school year, some children may have fallen behind with academics. Summer is an excellent time for learning. Use free resources, including local libraries and online programs, such as Khan Academy, Duolingo, and other academic sites. Reach out to your teachers or school administrators for suggestions on how to keep your child engaged with academics. Teachers may be available to offer small group or 1:1 instruction for students this summer. Schools or other programs may offer summer sessions. Ask around to see what other families are doing to keep students academically engaged this summer.
One of the best ways to keep your child learning this summer is to encourage them to follow their passions. Perhaps they love drawing — dedicate a day each week to art based on children’s books. If they love the outdoors, have them build an outdoor fort using math and technical skills. Thinking out-of-the-box can be a fun and memorable way to keep young minds challenged.
Ideas for Teens
With some ingenuity, resilience, and creativity, teens can make this a memorable and impactful summer!
- Free college classes and lectures are available online to jump-start fall classes or learn something entirely new. Check out edx.org for free courses on thousands of different subjects.
- Learn a new skill like cooking. Online cooking classes abound, and what better way for them to help the family than to prepare some home-cooked meals!
- Volunteer. Check with your local high school community service advisor for suggestions or ask adults who have careers that your teen is interested in pursuing if they have any ideas for volunteering this summer.
With planning, creativity, and safety in mind, you can enjoy the summer. Stay healthy!
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