Summer Night Family Fun at Home

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My family, like many others, will be staying close to home this summer due to health concerns. My tweens are bummed that they are missing trips to the pool, sports, and time with friends, so I’m trying to make it as memorable a summer as possible, given the limitations we have. This is the first summer in years that we don’t have anything on our schedule, so instead of late evenings at the ballfield, we will have more time to spend together at home after the sun sets.

Here are some of the ways our family of five, which also includes a toddler, are going to fill our nights with family fun outside to make the most of our evenings together:

Flashlight Scavenger Hunt: Hide things outside and have children use flashlights to find them. One time I wrote letters on rocks that would form a secret message once they found them all. After hunting for the rocks, they had to unscramble the message and it led them to where the ingredients for s’mores were hidden.

Campfire: If you have a fire pit, you can pretend you are camping by singing camp songs, making s’mores, and telling spooky stories around the campfire.

Play “Ghost in the Graveyard”: As a child, this was one of my favorite games to play outside with my friends after dark. It’s a combination of two classic games: hide & seek and tag. One person hides and the others look for them. Then, whomever finds the person hiding yells “ghost in the graveyard,” and all the players have to run back to base while the ghost chases them. Whomever the “ghost” touches before they get back to base is then the ghost for the next game.

Star Gazing: Put a blanket on the ground and look up at the night sky as you lay there to see how many constellations you can find.

Glow in the Dark Sensory Play: Fill a water table or large plastic tub with water, and then put some glow-in-the-dark toys in the water, or add a bit of glow-in-the-dark washable paint to shaving cream and let kids play in that.

Outdoor Movie Night: Host an outdoor movie night for your family by showing a movie on your laptop screen or using a projector to project the movie on your garage or a white sheet hung on the side of your home. Don’t forget the popcorn.

Just because a lot of our activities are canceled doesn’t mean the fun has to be! Evenings together at home are sure to be the highlight of our summer, and my kids will have these memories for years to come.

Tags: Toddlers, Navigating the Pandemic, Overcoming Adversity, Motherhood, Activities for Kids

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Alicia Peiffer

Alicia lives in the Chicago suburbs where she is raising two preteens and a toddler with her husband. She works from home... See Full Bio

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