Summer plans for a lot of families look wildly different this year. Many camps have been canceled, city of Omaha pools are closed and normal vacation spots may have some restrictions in place that we haven’t experienced previously.
But just because summer activities may be not be "like usual" doesn’t mean that summer fun has to change or go away entirely.
When my kids were closing out the school year, I asked them the annual question that always kicks off their long summer break: “What would you like to do this summer?"
I knew before asking that I would have to do a little modifying. Based on their answers, it looks like the theme for our warm weather adventures is going to be a retro spin on the modern summer. Here's what we're planning to do.
1. Have an ice cream social. What is summer without ice cream? Make enjoying the cool treat an occasion by setting up a whole spread with all the fixings — sprinkles, candy toppings, fresh fruit, syrups and whipped cream. If you want to take your ice cream to a whole new level, try making your own. Don’t have an ice cream machine? No problem. Grab a mason jar or some Ziploc bags and make some awesome kid-friendly recipes everyone will enjoy.
2. Check out a drive-in movie. Grab the sleeping bags and load into the family roadster for a night at the drive-in. I used to think my children would never know the giddiness of staying up late, wearing pajamas and eating handfuls of concession stand candy while hanging out in the family car watching a movie on a big screen in a parking lot. I don’t know who’s more excited to check one out this summer — me or the kids. My husband, on the other hand, wants to know who will be able to stay awake the latest. I must admit the kids may have me on that one.
3. Play yard games. Set up the cornhole for a little yard or driveway competition. If you want to really go old school, pick up a croquet set and have some garden fun — “Alice In Wonderland” style. Before we broke out the summer toys, the kids made a game of "who threw it farthest?" in the backyard. It was all fine until they started using their shoes...that they were wearing.
4. Go to a splash pad. Getting pool time in this summer may be tricky, but that doesn’t mean the kids can’t break out the swimwear. Omaha has 11 splash pads around the city that are open and ready for play. If you are looking for something a little more socially distant at home, then break out the sprinkler, fill a kiddie pool full of water balloons or have a Super Soaker water fight in the yard.
5. Do a scrapbook project. Let the kids make their own memory book for summer 2020. They can take pictures, collect keepsakes, draw pictures or write their own recollections from what will surely be one of the more unique summers of their lives. Go old school and develop the photos the kids took and either let them assemble their own scrapbook or pick one up at a local craft store. You could even use a simple spiral notebook to get the trick done. Then let them paste, draw, write and record to their hearts content. Pulling this out for them to work on during the summer is a great rainy day activity as well.
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Molly Cavanaugh of Channel 94.1 FM’s “Big Party Show” in Omaha is a mom to two children living in Chicago. She writes weekly for Momaha.com.