Well, we have made it to the halfway mark of what I think we can all safely say as been one of the most tumultuous years in our existence.
Summer feels different this year — instead of being chock full of vacations, county/state fairs, baseball games, carnivals and swimming, many of us are still slowly ascending from our spring quarantine, unsure if it is really safe to get back into the water.
It is a different kind of summer to be sure and many vacations and summer plans have been either cancelled or postponed due to COVID concerns.
For my family, it is a much different summer compared to our usual pace and while I am sad to not have a big family trip on the calendar, I am determined to find ways to make this summer, in all of its simplicity, a sweet one.
Try one of these staycation ideas for some summer memories that your family is likely to never forget!
Family Film Festival: I love family movie nights and I am totally missing our monthly family trips to our local movie theater, especially during the summer.
Why not have a family film festival in the comfort of your living room or backyard?
Pick a theme (sports, rom com, horror are all fun choices) or series of films that your family enjoys, snag some of your favorite theater snacks and have fun!
My son’s first request for our first family film festival was a Minion marathon but your choices can be themed on genre, film franchise or even giving each family member their pick!
Want to move it outside?
There are great and affordable outdoor projectors available on Amazon — enjoy a drive-in style experience!
Have a pool? Grab some pool floats and enjoy your own “dive-in” movie instead!
The options are endless and you can even make it a monthly tradition!
Living Room of Champions: Take family or couple’s game night to the next level with a tournament of your favorite board games.
Think about your favorite vacations and where you made some of your best memories.
For me, many of those memories involve sitting around your living room or kitchen without worrying about bedtimes, playing fun family games until midnight.
It can be as simple as an air hockey tournament or a series of games that culminate in a championship over a series of days.
Be sure to stock up with fun snacks and prizes for the winner!
Prizes can be cheap trinkets, gift cards or even coupons for fun things around the house (a week’s vacation from taking out the trash or washing dishes are all likely to be popular in any house!)
If board games are not your jam, try dance party marathon to see who can dance until they drop or some outdoor wiffleball or badminton battles!
Google family field day if you need inspiration or ideas!
Road to Nowhere: I love a good road trip.
There is nothing better than piling in the good ol’ family truckster, stocking a cooler with our favorite snacks and headed out on a family adventure.
While most of these road trips end up at a vacation destination, who says you can’t have a road trip to a more local destination?
The license plate game works no matter what road you are on and you can make a day of hitting local spots that you never paid attention to.
Start with a trip to your nearest state or national park — most of these are open with social distancing measures in place.
Make a picnic lunch and stop for ice cream or a fun dessert on the way home before setting up camp in a backyard tent.
End your road trip to nowhere with some smores and campfire stories by flashlight.
Don’t have a campfire or a tent? Just borrow a tent and use that microwave to roast some faux smores.
It will be an adventure in its own way!
Dine in with Celebrity Chefs: Confession time: I have cooked what feels like 586 million meals this spring and summer.
I miss dining out but have definitely found some new recipes to add to my arsenal.
To keep the daily cooking routine from making me insane, I have found that adding a new recipe every week or two gets me — and hopefully my family — excited about meals.
One of the things that I am missing most about having no vacation on the calendar this summer is the prospect of dining out and having my meals brought to me.
Why not have a “Celebrity Chefs” week that gives each member of your family a chance to prepare a new recipe for the family?
Choose your favorite celebrity chef or do themed menu nights to make it exciting and rotate roles so that everyone can play!
If you have a favorite restaurant, you can try a copycat version of your favorite meal and some restaurants even post these on their homepages or social media pages!
My family is missing our annual Disney trip this year, but we still had a ton of fun this spring while trying some copycat recipes of our favorite treats from the parks that were released by the Disney Parks blog.
You can choose to make it a family affair by having each member of your household pick a themed night and let them design the menu!
Bon Appetit!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)