So summer is almost here, which may not feel that different to you than the past six weeks – but at any rate, the traditional school year is over. That means parents are thinking about ways to keep their kids busy, or at least occupied during the summer months. Here are some ideas to get you going.
My favorite replies from an online query had to do with old-school summer ideas.
“My son is almost 2 and he has been loving the inflatable kiddie pool in the backyard,” Rebecca Berens said. “The more time we spend outside, the less he asks to watch TV.”
Stella Stevens said her kids’ summer will be a flash back to 1986 – “where you get bored. They are going to pool hop and that’s about it.”
Jeny Burrell adds the weekly bike ride to get a treat to the mix.
“We are sorting all our Legos back into their original kit with the instruction book,” Burrell said. “Lofty but I have a one hour a day minimum commitment from both of them.”
Jennifer Rodriguez adds lots of water balloons and water gun action.
Time to dust off the slip- and-slide or maybe invest in an above-ground pool, although I hear they are hard to come by right now.
This is a variation on the old-school item, but in light of emerging evidence about the relative low risk of being outdoors, many are looking out their windows.
“I plan on finding as many places that I can to keep the kids outdoors, near water and not in crowds,” Vanessa Woodfin said. “Fishing, crabbing, beaching, paddling and swimming.”
My family has visited two state parks this spring with plans for more coming up. To reserve day passes – the park service is limiting them this summer – visit https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/.
Other parents have booked tennis lessons at Lost Forest Tennis Club or golf lessons at Acorn Golf or Memorial Park.
DIY Summer jobs
With many summer jobs not available this year, many kids are starting their own.
Kimberly Sadberry reports that her two older kids started a lawn care business which involves six lawns.
Candice Croker’s high schooler is working with a friend to offer baseball “lessons” for two kids at a time in their own front yards – “with lots of COVID safety guidelines, obviously.”
Angela Pennington and daughter Catherine are making a different kind of DIY effort.
“We are going to start working on a handmade Christmas this year,” she said. “Learning to sew, especially to make some goodies for the family.”
One of the online options I’m hearing a lot about – and one that keeps popping up on my Facebook feed – is Outschool.com, which offers live online classes for ages 3-18, some as low as $5 per class.
“We’ve found some awesome classes on Outschool,” Marcie Turrin said. “The ones for 11-year-olds ranged from fun-looking classes on the expected school subjects to all kinds of art, history, music, environmental, debate, how to be a good human/live well with others, just so much cool stuff. It’s all tele-learning, and most classes we’ve found don’t have homework, so it’s just for enjoyment, for the pleasure of learning. Our first class, ‘This Week in History’ is taught by a Women’s’ Studies professor. All the teachers have bios.”
Elizabeth Arredondo has scheduled a virtual creative writing camp with J. Mark Price studio, virtual Mathnasium, virtual guitar lessons, (and) a book club.”
Many specialty camps are taking June off with the hope of returning in July. This includes the Arboretum, which is offering the first five weeks of summer camp in a completely virtual format. And HITS in the Heights which is doing online theatre classes in June.
The Houston Holocaust Museum is all online this summer and has some intriguing options, like a Model UN, at https://hmh.org/education/summer-programming/.
St. Thomas is not doing its camps for middle schoolers this summer, but St. Pius X is doing in-person offerings starting in July. See https://www.stpiusx.org/summer/summer-camps for more information.
Museums and Zoo
The Houston Zoo will reopen for members June 1 and for the public on June 3, but you must register in advance. They will only be selling tickets online. No tickets will be sold on-site.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is open at 25 percent capacity with visitors 10 and older required to wear a mask. New exhibits include Stonehenge: Ancient Mysteries and Modern Discoveries. The Houston Museum of Fine Arts is also open with a number of safety protocols.
Amy McCormick looks forward to taking her kids to the Holocaust museum for the first time this summer.
“I’ll probably do that later this summer when we know more about COVID,” she said.