Well, we made it to the end of the school year. We may have been crawling across the finish line, but we did it. We finished!
But now it’s the last month of summer. And we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. So how can we look forward to August with expectation instead of dread? Are adventures really possible?
Yes, I believe they are. It will just take a willingness on our part to reimagine what those adventures look like. The best part about that is that by shifting our own vision we can help our kids shift their vision too, and together we can still have a month full of adventures!
For example, I get energized by having things to look forward to. But all our summer plans as a family, as well as my kids’ individual plans, have been cancelled this summer. So how do we reimagine that? First, we need to be sure to let our kids mourn those losses. In our family we mourned together as each cancellation of summer plans came in. But then we came together to find things we could look forward to. Because we needed that!
Here are some ideas we came up with. They’re things your family can do too. All of them can be done while safely social distancing and still allow for fun, bonding and adventure!
Ideas for adventure at home:
*Tackle a house project together that will offer a feeling of accomplishment when it is done.
*Read a chapter book aloud together. By reading a longer book instead of a picture book, you have more time to connect to the characters and each other as you read. Try listening to an audio book together if you’re not comfortable reading aloud.
*Make it feel like read aloud time a special time. Sip hot cocoa, sit by the outdoor fire, pop popcorn, and make read aloud time happen on a consistent basis.
*Have a celebration when you finish the book. Make food from the book, watch the movie version if there is one, have a book discussion.
*Plan regular movie nights for the kids. Let the older kids watch a movie with a parent one night and the younger siblings another night. Or let a parent pick the films she loved as a kid. Call it summer film school.
*Have art afternoons together. Let your child teach you a new art technique or learn a new one together from an online tutorial. The act of learning and creating something new together is a great adventure!
*Plant a garden together. Watching things grow is an adventure! Even if it’s just some small pots on the back porch, putting seeds in soil and watching them emerge is such a special experience. Every child loves to watch the things he planted grow.
*Create an exercise challenge. Try signing up for a virtual race or take a month long yoga class together in the comfort of your own home.
Ideas for adventure away from home:
*Go on a family road trip. Visit a national or state park that is opened up. Now you have time to visit those places that have been on your list.
*Plan a camping trip. Outside time is good for our souls and our bodies, and we can avoid hotels and restaurants entirely when we camp. For families who need to adhere to strict social distancing, this is a great option.
*Go hiking together. Go early or late if the weather is hot and to avoid crowds. Find local hikes to make it easier to get to them, but also plan some more special hikes that are worth making a drive for.
*Try geocaching when you go hiking, or even when you are walking around your town or neighborhood. Download the app and join the fun!
*Spend time near the water. Whether you visit a lake, river, beach, or even a creek, being near or in the water is relaxing and invigorating at the same time. Most people naturally social distance at the beach or lake. Bur if you find your beach is too crowded, hunt for a local stream or secret swimming hole and hang out there.
*Go stargazing together. The Perseid meteor shower peaks in mid August. Wake your kids up in the middle of the night, bundle them in the car and drive to a spot away from city lights. Get out and enjoy the show! Be sure to stop for donuts on the way back home.
Whether you are adventuring close to home or far away, you can give your children something to look forward to before returning to school or online learning. More importantly, adventures make memories and create lasting connections, so your family will be able to look back on the summer of 2020 with fondness instead of sadness. Be the change in your family and lead them on some magical adventures this summer!
For more on the power of connecting with your kids through adventure, check out my new book, Adventuring Together, available wherever books are sold.