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What are some Creative ways to have a Safe At-Home Summer?

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With the group of those eligible for vaccine increasing in size and Biden’s plan to expand eligibility to all adults by May 1st, there are many reasons for hope that we will be able to get back to at least somewhat of a more ‘normal’ summer.  While everyone may become eligible for a vaccine by May 1st, it is likely it will take some time to provide everyone with a vaccine, with vaccinations extending into the summer for many.  Interim public health recommendations released by the CDC on March 8th, 2021 highlight things fully vaccinated people can now do safely, including visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing and visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.  While we wait for everyone to receive their vaccine, there is a good chance we will still need to continue to practice social distancing with many of our friends and family this summer.  Here are a few ideas to help keep you and your family active this summer with continued social distancing:


Adapted from this Healthline article

  • Stay active and fit with the whole family: Just because school’s out doesn’t mean physical education needs to be. Thankfully with modern technology, you’ve got so many options for keeping your kids fit while having fun. YouTube is a gold mine here. There are so many amazing channels that offer exercise videos, dance tutorials, wiggle breaks, and more.
    • GoNoodle | Get Moving. Yes, folks, the tagline here really is “get moving”. GoNoodle offers short dance and movement videos that are hilarious and engaging and sure to draw your little ones in.
    • Kidz Bop. Kidz Bop is a household name for many. Now, they’re YouTube famous! They not only have videos of popular songs remade by kids, but they also have dance-along videos too.
    • Cosmic Kids Yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga works on flexibility and strength while keeping them engaged with stretching exercises set to exciting stories kids recognize and love.
    • P.E. with Joe. This channel (The Body Coach TV) has a variety of videos, but we really love the P.E. with Joe series. They are fun, funny, and will keep the whole family fit!
    • PopSugar Fitness. PopSugar Fitness is not specifically for kids, but is a high-quality channel with a variety of great content to get mom, dad, and kids moving together.
    • Be sure to use the YouTube search bar for things like “family-friendly fitness,” “kids workout videos,” or “beginner yoga” and you’ll find more than you know what to do with. YouTube is truly a treasure trove of free exercise options for those of ALL ages.
  • Build an indoor obstacle course: If your kids love “American Ninja Warrior,” you know all about obstacle courses. It’s time to build your own at home.
    • Set up the kitchen chairs, couch cushions, pillows, blankets, and anything else you might have on hand and make your course as intricate and challenging as you’d like. Then, turn your kids loose and watch them go. Even better, take a turn yourself!
    • The best part about this is, you can do it every week and create a new course each time.
    • Want to do it up right? Make it a theme day.
    • Spend the morning plotting out and setting up your course. Let your budding designers draw it out on paper (and color it too!).
    • Then, once it’s all set up, get dressed in your best ninja warrior wear. Dress for success!
    • Once everyone is in costume, set the timer and get going. Take turns going through the course and see who ends up with the fastest time.
    • After you get it all cleaned up, let your kids participate in preparing a warrior-worthy meal. A fresh veggie tray, cubed cheese, deli meat, and crackers is simple, well-balanced, and quick to put together.
    • Lastly, cap off the night with an “American Ninja Warrior” marathon on TV. That screen time will be well deserved and enjoyed by all.
  • Start a garden
    • Gardening is a good choice for kids because it allows them to enjoy fresh air, take in some sunshine, and get their hands dirty. These things are great for boosting their immune system, building motor skills, and providing necessary sensory input.
    • It also teaches kids about where their food comes from and is a nifty way to incorporate hands-on science lessons since we’re all schooling at home right now.
    • Gardening is a practical way to keep your body active, your mind engaged, and grow something that will provide your family with food, fun, and sun for many years to come.
  • Take a nature walk
    • A nature walk can be as easy as wandering through the backyard with a zipper seal bag collecting “specimens” (e.g. twigs, leaves, and rocks) and listening to your toddler make observations about what they’re seeing. “The sky is blue? Why yes it is!” “You think that tree is really big? I agree with you!” “The grass feels scratchy on your bare feet? Why do you think that is?”
    • For bigger kids, you can walk around the block or head to an open green space in your city. Take along some sketching supplies and maybe a field guide, stand back and watch them work.
    • If you want a bit more guidance, you can find free printables galore all over the internet: scavenger hunts, coloring pages, writing prompts, drawing tutorials, and more.

For other ideas for safe indoor and outdoor activities for families in the time of coronavirus, we also like this article from the Center for Discovery.

Jennifer Abrams, MD, March 17, 2021