Have a retro summer!

If you are anything like me, you may be thinking to yourself, what in the world am I going to do with my kids this summer. I have also been asked this question quite a lot these past two weeks. People are calling this time period The Endless Summer. So, after thinking of thinking about it and sitting around the table with my family reminiscing about our childhoods, we came up with the ultimate list of recreating our childhood summers- think 1980.

Make this a summer to remember!

School's out. Camps are cancelled. Vacations have been halted. Flying seems risky. The past two weeks have been filled with questions and confusion for many families. Is a road trip safe? Is swimming in a pool okay? Can we go camping? What if we fly and no one is really on the plane? Will school start back up  in the fall? School just ended, now what? We are in a new and confusing time where the end of the school year, normally filled with exciting transitions, parties, carnivals, fun runs and goodbyes have been replaced by more of the same. Long days at home with maybe a little more social interaction than previous weeks but nothing like it used to be.

Parents are burned out, kids want to get outside, enjoy the weather and be with friends and there is great discrepancy between what parents are allowing. This doesn't feel good to anyone, especially parents who by and large don't know where to turn to for guidance on what is safe.

So, naturally the question has come about, "what is summer going to look like?"

Summer is going to need to be intentional. Parents can no rely on the usual summer activities. So, here are some ideas from our childhoods to make the summer manageable, even memorable for you and your kids.

1. Play outdoors- get your kids to play with water hoses, water balloons, set up a slip and slide, tag, cops and robbers flashlight tag, and freeze tag. 

2. Family game nights- old school style style- do puzzles, play cards (think Uno), bingo, musical chairs, kick the can, or stick ball.

3. Family movie nights- create a list of your favorite movies growing up and create fun movie nights with the candy you ate, soda you drank and of course the classic movies you love.

4. Backyard camping- set up a tent in your backyard (or basement or bedroom) and roast marshmallows (or microwave them) and create smores. Tell ghost stories, play with a Ouija board and try levitating each other chanting, "light as feather, thin as a board!"

5. Camp grounds, fishing, hiking- try exploring the great outdoors for a day or a week. Go tubing, rafting or other lake, river and ocean activities. Climb trees, skip rocks, and play with dirt!

6. Build and create- use recycled goods- up-cycle the cardboard boxes that are coming in daily and let your kids create forts, robots and anything they can think of.

7. Cooking and baking- get an easy bake oven, make rice crispy treats, try canning fresh jam and jelly, make Kool-Aid, make jello and pudding from boxes, and if all else fails just make home made ice pops!

8. Plant a vegetable and or flower garden- it doesn't take much space to start a garden. Pick something that would be fun to watch grow and start soon. It will be an exciting part of your summer to watch what you planted grow. And hopefully it is something you can eat or cut and bring in your home.

9. Neighborhood play or talent show- for those of you who did these you remember the fun and excitement. For those of you who didn't, you may have missed out but can rally your community or family. You can even make a decade theme like the 1950's- think Grease!

10. Bike riding, go-karts, big wheels- remember the fun of a Green Machine or Huffy Big Wheels? They still sell them so treat your kids to the fun that you had as a kid cruising around the block or racing your friends. 

11. Print photos and create a COVID summer 2020 scrapbook- last but not least, take pictures, maybe on a Polaroid or "real" camera and print them. Make a summer of 2020 memory book complete with pictures, stickers, art, letters and memories.

Happy Parenting!

About the author

Sheryl Gonzalez Ziegler, Psy.D. holds a Doctorate of Psychology, is an Author, Speaker, National Media Contributor, Non-Profit Board Member, Girl Scouts Leader, Girls on the Run Coach and Advocate for children. She has been treating children and families for over twenty years with areas of expertise in anxiety, trauma, divorce, stress management and depression. Dr. Ziegler is the author of the best selling book, Mommy Burnout: how to reclaim your life and raise healthier children in the process, the winner of Best Parenting Book of 2018 as awarded by International Latino Book Awards.

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