Around this time each year, parents everywhere are scrambling to plan the best summer ever! As the stay-at-home orders are gradually lifted and life slowly starts feeling more normal, we’re all looking for creative ways to keep our children happy, healthy, and entertained. Summer is such an exciting time in a child’s life, and this year is no different, even while families are adapting to our new normal. Indy With Kids wants to help equip you to have your best summer yet! Here are my 15 favorite summer bucket list activities, that you can still enjoy while practicing social distancing.
Camping is a classic summer activity, with so many ways to execute. You could take a weekend trip to an Indiana State Park and enjoy a campsite, or you could simply have a backyard camp-out, no travel necessary! If you find that the weather has spoiled your plans, we love camp-outs in the living room, and sometimes we make a tent or fort out of linens. Though a simple idea, camping creates lifelong memories and is the perfect summer activity.
Head over to Fall Creek or the White River, and go on a boating adventure! Make sure to bring your life jackets just in case. Canoeing and Kayaking are not only fun, but great exercise, and the perfect way to unplug and spend time together as a family.
Go on a Picnic
Picnics are fun change of pace for a typical meal, and you can enjoy them with very little work. Pack up something simple like sandwiches, or even grab food from your favorite restaurant to-go, and find your favorite park to have a family picnic!
Ice Cream Crawl
The greater Indianapolis area has countless ice cream shops, and what says summer more than ice cream? Many places are offering no contact curbside ordering, so you can enjoy your treats with minimal contact. So, make a list of your must try’s, and check out all that the ice cream scene has to offer here in Indy.
Backyard movie nights are one of our favorite family traditions and can be done with very little equipment! If you have an old white sheet, tape that up to the side of your house, and at dusk, start rolling the movie! Grab some popcorn, start a bonfire, and enjoy the slowness and beauty that summer brings.
Field Day in the Backyard
I know many of our kids missed out on Field Day this year, with the sudden shift to online learning. Field Day is fun, and easy to recreate at home! If you have a plastic tarp and soap, you can use those to make a homemade slip ‘n slide. We also like the “Minute To Win It” style games, like cup stacking, filling a bucket with a sponge, and the classic egg on a spoon! So many easy DIY options, for a fun and memorable field day at home.
Creek Stomping is a family favorite, and there are so many cool places around Indianapolis to explore. Cool Creek Park, and Skiles Test Nature Park, are two family favorites, that are great for little ones, and big kids alike. I would recommend bringing lots of towels, and a change of clothes for the ride home!
A short drive out of the city will take you to the abundance of farmland that Indiana has to offer. Without the light pollution from the city, the stars are so bright, and perfect for stargazing. This is a great family activity, or even a good date night to unplug and spend time together. For extra fun, bring a constellation guide, and see how many you can find!
Smores Night over the Campfire
Do you know how many combinations there are of the classic smore? I have tried several variations, but the possibilities are endless! A smores buffet is a fun summer’s night activity. Work together as a family to think of all the different modifications you would like to try, and sample your creations. I recently saw the idea to roast a strawberry, covered in marshmallow fluff, and I can’t wait to try it on smores night this summer!
Fishing is a classic summer activity, and for good reason! It’s easy, relaxing, and very family friendly. Most state parks have equipment to rent and set you up for a day of fun, if you aren’t wanting to invest in the upfront cost. You could rent a boat as well, and make a day out of it, that the entire family will enjoy!
Many farmers’ markets have made plans to open in early May, and with that comes fresh produce, locally grown goods, and small businesses to support! If you’ve never visited your local farmers’ market, you are in for a great morning. My favorite item to pick up is local honey, and my husband often finds homemade barbecue sauce and beef jerky. There is something for everyone, and you are supporting your local community as a bonus!
Day trip to Brown County
Brown County is known for its scenic views, small town shopping, and gorgeous state park. This summer, enjoy the beauty that nature brings, and plan a day of hiking, exploring, and check out the local shops for a treat before you leave.
I know we already talked about ice cream, but who doesn’t love donuts? There are so many cool donut shops around Indy , and summer is the perfect time to try them. Our families personal favorite is Ohana’s in Fishers, and they also have ice cream and coffee as an added perk!
Make Homemade Ice Cream
This is a staple summer activity that I did as a kid, and it is still such a great memory! There is something extra delicious about biting into ice cream that you made yourself, and it’s surprisingly easy. Check out my favorite ice cream recipe, it’s quick, easy, and delicious.
Bury a Time Capsule
This is a fun activity, but feels even more appropriate considering that our kids are living through history right now. Pick out a few things that best represent what you want to remember about 2020, and make a DIY time capsule in the backyard. In a few years, you can dig it up, and see what you buried! To preserve your treasures, I recommend burying it in a plastic or metal container with a lid.
Summer can be just as magical and memorable as years prior, despite the uncertain times we are facing. I hope you are feeling inspired and ready to start a summer of fun with your kids! Make sure to take us along for the ride by using the hashtag #playindy on social media.