Summer is here and we’re still deep in the trenches of the coronavirus pandemic. Health experts around the world are working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, but until that happens America is left with social distancing and masks as the best practices to prevent the spread of the disease. It’s a blunt tactic that can help spare hospitals from a catastrophic overload of patients, even as local and county municipalities work to reopen businesses in phases. Consider some of these ideas for family fun!
· Neighborhood scavenger hunts
· Get creative with outside chalk art, write inspirational messages for people to find on their daily walks or create your own games and obstacle courses to play.
· Sign up for your local library’s summer reading program. Many are offering different programs and reading prizes due to the pandemic.
· Build some cardboard creations with all those shipping boxes you’ve accumulated; forts, houses, cars!
· Camp in the backyard. Set up a tent, grab some flashlights, sleeping bags and board games.
· Shoot a family music video!
· Mark the July 4 with your own family celebration! Have the kids make red, white or blue Jello, spray paint stars on the lawn and break out some instruments for your own parade around the neighborhood.
· Have every family make a 5-item bucket list, see how many you can achieve over the summer.
· Keep young brains moving with some fun, educational TED Ed short videos.
· Explore with National Geographic Kids.
· Listen to celebrities read children’s stories on Storyline Online.
During this time of social distancing, encourage your kids to spend time drawing and making handmade cards for grandparents and other loved ones who may decide to continue to shelter at home once restrictions are lifted. Families can also safely exercise outdoors together, go for a walk, bike ride or step into nature for a hike. Most Tennessee State Parks are open and would love to see you!
With all the outdoor summer fun comes an increased responsibility of keeping the little ones safe!
Water Safety Tips
· Always have adult supervision when children are in and around water
· Don’t rely on pool floats or arm floats to protect your children
· Install pool alarms
· Install secure fencing with locking gate around home pools
· Keep house doors near pools locked to prevent children from getting out of the home undetected
· Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – it could save a life
· Store pool ladders away from above ground pools when not in use
· Teach kids to swim to help protect against drowning
Sun Safety Tips
· Avoid outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day, usually 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
· Get immediate medical attention if you suspect your child is suffering a heat-related illness
· Infants and children should wear loose-fitting, light-colored, lightweight clothing
· Keep plenty of cold water handy to keep kids hydrated
· Never leave infants or children in a parked car even if windows are cracked open
· Use sunscreen of at least 30 SPF with UVA and UVB protection
· Use swimsuits made with sun protective fabric, and use a cover up when not in the water
Summer Food Service Program
The Tennessee Department of Human Services is moving forward with its annual Summer Food Service Program to help provide meals to children across the state during the summer months. Currently the SFSP team is helping school systems and organizations across the state to provide meals to children who are home due to school systems being closed. In the summer months many of the program sponsors and meal pick up locations offer recreational activities and enrichment opportunities for the entire family.