Wow! Summer vacation sure looks different!

Summer break will no doubt be different for families all over the world this year. Should we gather? Can we gather? Is it safe yet? How long with these masks? The questions go on and on. One thing that won’t change is that kids will get bored. That’s no good!

I have been working from home full time, while teaching full time to my 8th grade daughter also learning at home. I’m worn out and summer just began. Camps are closed, no summer school-we are staring down the barrel of nothing but time and energetic children. They are cooped up, fed up and stressed out. Oh yeah, child care is closed and we still need to parent them while we work-remotely or not.

Many of us have heard about the summer slide, so we want to keep our kids engaged and learning, but we also need them out of our hair for chunks of time so we can do our jobs. Here are a few nuggets I’ve come up with.

chicken-nuggets

Screens can be your friend, especially interactive ones.

Many zoos, museums, and aquariums are live-streaming interactive programs for kids. Just search web sites of your favorites and you’ll find them. My kids and I love the San Diego Zoo. Here is their site: https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/ These allow children to not only watch nature, science, and social studies programming engineered to entertain and inform, but to also ask live questions and participate virtually. When your child hears their question read-then answered-on Facebook Live, you bet they will be excited.

You can also check out these opportunities from USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/10best/2020/04/27/kids-activities-childrens-museums-offer-online-quarantine-programs/111582436/ or this one which is organized by time and date: https://rochester.kidsoutandabout.com/content/1000-things-do-during-covid-19-online-activities-kids-teens-families-and-adults There are also events online at Scripps Aquarium which can be found at: https://aquarium.ucsd.edu/teachers/online-learning/online-events and historic Jamestown activities at: https://www.historyisfun.org/webcasts/

bring-zoo-to-you

Allow Messenger to count as writing.

Your kids haven’t seen their friends in months. They might keep a journal if you push them. But Facebook Messenger Kids can be a huge plus! Our kids use it to write (and yes, as long as they’re writing, it counts as education. They’re also practicing typing, which counts as real-world learning).

You’d also be shocked at the things kids will do over FB Messenger. Kids can play games like chess, Monopoly and Trickster and app that allows kids to play live card games with their friends. There is a new Dungeons and Dragons game, an imaginative, storytelling game using math that keeps them occupied and amused for hours. You can also encourage map-making to go along with the game (social studies: making compass roses, labeling cardinal directions, constructing map keys), as well as writing and drawing. D & D starter sets are relatively inexpensive.

You can also ask willing adults — grandparents are a good choice — to get in on the action. Chances are good that a grandma or great aunt would be thrilled to play Monopoly with her grandchildren for three hours! Then you can work, the kids are doing math, and everyone’s happy.

monopoly

I hope you have a backyard! Front yard, side yard-just a spot outside!

Do whatever it takes to get the kids outside, keep the kids outside, and let them move. This will keep them out of your way, exhaust them, and keep them happily occupied. Sure, the yard can end up a mess. A possible national disaster worthy zone, but who cares? In the time of COVID-19, who’s going to see it?

All this counts as physical education. This is an integral part of camp. Why shouldn’t it be an integral part of their home education as well? Math is involved as well as they can figure out the 6’ safe social distancing.

outside