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SmartAdvice: Making the Most of the Pandemic Summer

Child enjoying summer during the pandemic

This summer looks a little different than we planned, but it’s still summer! The season is all about being outside, biting into a juicy watermelon, and wiping your kids’ sticky popsicle fingers. While it might seem like we’re looking through rose-colored glasses given that most kids’ summer programming has gone virtual, we still fully believe that with some IRL modifications, we can still make the most out of this pandemic summer.

We’re hearing from so many families who are escaping the concrete jungle that is New York City and trading it in for a “quaranteam” with other trusted family members and friends somewhere greener, preferably with a swimming pool. We’re also working with families who plan to stay local and take advantage of the temporary decrease in population density. 

Regardless of where you are, one popular summer childcare trend is to hire a live-in summer nanny or babysitter, or a local New York City babysitter who can bring some camp-style summer programming into your child’s day-to-day. The benefit here is the opportunity for extreme personalization. Do you have a child who loves theatre? Sports? Building? Whatever their passion is, there’s definitely a babysitter who can play with Magnatiles and sing Disney favorites longer than you can with so much else on your plate. And you need them because sanity is a thing your children require of you for at least another decade or two. 

Once you’ve got your summer child care support, plan on some of these classic (and still totally doable) summer activities with a big emphasis on spending time outside, not only because it’s safer, but because it’s summer. 

Pick your own fruit

It’s strawberry season through July and many local farms, like Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ! Many farms are finding creative ways to host enthusiastic fruit pickers! Most require a pre-purchased ticket for a specific time to reduce crowding, and plenty have implemented new processes to ensure contact-free transactions for everyone’s safety.

Embrace the summer picnic

Throw a blanket under a shady tree at Prospect Park, or take in a scenic view while lunching from the back of the car. Food just tastes better when the air is fresh and the vitamin D is flowing! If you plan it in advance, you can turn this into a friendly socially distant day trip. Just bring separate cars, separate blankets, and separate food. 

Virtual Summer Camp

While most camps are not opening up this summer, your kids can still enjoy fun activities and bonding with virtual summer camps. Depending on your child’s interests, there’s a virtual camp for everyone. We’re big fans of CAMP TNTP from The Neon Tea Party where kids “will gather online and dive into four fantastic craft skills (Pom Poms and Tassels, Friendship Bracelets, Tie Dye, and Jewelry Making) while making wonderful memories and new friends from around the country.”

Sunset bike rides

Getting to bed while the sun is still up isn’t always easy for kids. How about borrowing from the Italians and taking the passeggiata, or evening stroll, and turning it into a sunset bike ride on the Hudson River Greenway? Riding bikes has a good amount of social-distancing automatically built-in and the exercise and fresh air should be good ingredients for a restful sleep.

Backyard Camping

You don’t have to be at a campground to enjoy all the traditional camping activities. If you’ve got a few key supplies on hand, like sleeping bags, tents, and obviously marshmallows, you could be eating smores and telling ghost stories tonight (okay fine, maybe next week is a little more convenient). Plus, you can use an actual bathroom. This is an easy, spur-of-the-moment activity that kids can get into and that will break up a moment of monotony. 

Road Trip in an RV

Scenic roads and national parks are a great way to do something memorable without being around too many people. RV rentals are a great way to go, but you can also transform a minivan into a sleeper car (depending on the size of your family, of course). There are many campgrounds that are currently open while still practicing social distancing, so if you want to brave the outdoors overnight, you can. Or, you can take a day trip and see some overlooks, take a hike, or maybe even find some water to marvel at. Make sure to pack lots of snacks or maybe even a picnic, and get out for a much-needed change of natural scenery. 

Grow a Garden

Another fun way to engage the whole family is to start a vegetable garden and involve the whole family. This is a great way to help teach children how to care for another living thing without the commitment or responsibility of a pet. Depending on the space that you have, you can customize your garden to fit your style. You can even make a small garden indoors for things like herbs or flowers (or even a pet rock garden if you do not have a green thumb). If you have a bit more outdoor space, you can easily make a DIY garden in garden beds or in containers and grow plants such as bush beans, peas, cherry tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, garlic, and even leaf lettuce! 

If you try one of these summer adventures, we would love to see it! Tag SmartSitting in Facebook and Instagram posts, so we can see and share your summer posts and ideas on our channels. Want to know more about our tips and tricks? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter for all the latest info coming from our team!

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