Summer at Home Tout

18 Fun Ideas for Celebrating Summer at Home

Eighteen ways to brighten and—let’s face it—fill up the weeks ahead

At the time of this writing, we are about three weeks into the mandated quarantine and social distancing. And I would like to take this opportunity to tell you that, in a brave and unprecedented move, I am officially declaring the school year over.

Even if it's mid-May and your school year doesn't typically end until Memorial Day, I'm telling you, it's fine. In fact, where I live, school drags on until the end of June, and I still think we're pretty much finished. My kids can learn geometry and all the ins and outs of the American Revolution next fall.

What authority do I have to cut the school year short? Well, I have been a substitute teacher for almost a month now. In that time, I've also taken on the roles of principal, school superintendent, guidance counselor, janitor, and cafeteria worker. So I believe that gives me some liberties with the calendar. Not to mention the fact that, when I'm not secretly Googling the definitions of supplementary and complementary angles in an effort to teach fourth-grade math, I'm a mother. I have a hunch about what's best for my kids.

Here's the problem, though, folks. Summer is going to be a lot more of the same, minus the 1 p.m. sob session over persuasive-essay writing. None of us can predict the future, but it's likely that we'll still be hanging out at home more than usual. If you are a parent, you have more unstructured hours to fill for your kids. If you are a grandparent or a newlywed or a single person living alone, you have your own challenges, starting with toilet paper rations and ending with loneliness or an inability to put on pants with buttons anymore.

But there is some good news. We are already doing so many things well! I may have made a ton of mistakes lately. I let my older children, ages 7 and 10, start watching Coming to America, because I sort of forgot that the film was rated R and had nudity in the beginning. (Whoops; we quickly turned it off.) I've also snapped at my husband, and I cracked a craft beer before 5 p.m. several days in a row. However, I've consistently managed to feed five people three meals a day and have shown kindness to neighbors. Many of us have worshipped with our churches via screens, and it has been surprisingly sweet. Some intrepid souls have even learned to cut hair.

Beach Towels Hanging on Fence
Thayer Gowdy

So we may not be taking a summer vacation just yet. I'm not even sure my daughter will be able to go to sleepaway camp—though, I'm not gonna lie, that tops the prayer list these days. Still, I will keep going and continue to do what I can to make my home a place full of warmth, love, and laughter. You can too.

The first step is to cut yourself some slack. Lower the bar. I have let the housekeeping go, despite the now-comical fact that I exclaimed to my husband at the start of this ordeal: "We will finally have time to wash the windows!" Y'all, we have not washed those windows—or even folded our laundry from about three days ago. I haven't encouraged my children to keep up daily journals or taught anyone a new instrument. I am digging through memories of how I spent my childhood summers in the 1980s and remembering that I managed—that we all managed—with nothing more than a bicycle, episodes of Charles in Charge, and fistfuls of Apple Jacks cereal. We can do it again.

I pray that this summer brings relief and healing and many, many hugs to make up for all the ones we missed. If it does, these simple suggestions will still apply. But if we do remain stuck at home, perhaps the following ideas can brighten your days.

Savor the Season

Eat, drink, and be merry

Enjoy Old-School Fun

Bring back a few of your childhood pastimes

Give Yourself a Break

Be kind to yourself and others

Start New Traditions

Plan for get-togethers and adventures (at last!)

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