10 Quarantine-Friendly Summer Ideas for Families


quarantine summer water funThis Quarantine Summer is going to be very different for us. Our neighborhood pool is closed, some summer camps are canceled, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that our beach trip won’t be canceled too. We understand that this quarantine needs to happen to keep us safe, but I am already nervous about how we will spend our days without summer swim team and pizza at the pool with friends. I have been wracking my brain and the internet to find quarantine friendly summer ideas for families. I’d like to keep my kids safe —but I’d like to create some fun summer memories, too.

10 Quarantine-Friendly Summer Ideas for Families

Water fun

My kids love anything that is related to water. I already purchased a bigger inflatable pool for really hot days. We will also be running through our sprinkler, having water balloon fights and water gun battles. My littles like for me to fill up a plastic storage container with water and put in measuring cups, sponges, and plastic toys for some water play.

Build a Sandcastle

Another fun sensory bin activity is filling a plastic container with sand, small buckets, shovels, and treasure (i.e. shells, pirate treasure, little plastic animals). My older kids love kinetic sand for building indoor sandcastles.

camping at homeCampout at Home

There is something magical about setting up a tent at your house that transforms your living room or backyard into Mt. Everest or enchanted woods. We set up tents this spring in our front yard for a few days and the kids loved it. We will definitely be “camping” this summer along with roasting marshmallows and telling stories. If you don’t have a tent a blanket or sheet fort works too.

Family Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed but you can hold your own family Olympics. Kids can make an Olympic banner, flags, or your own team t-shirts.

Some ideas for games include:

  • Water balloon relay races
  • Long jump
  • Beach ball volleyball
  • Tricycle or scooter races
  • Ribbon Dancing: Make your own DIY ribbon wand with a dowel rod and colorful ribbon.

Frozen Treats

On a hot summer day, there is nothing more refreshing than a popsicle or ice cream. To make frozen treats you don’t need fancy equipment. We do have an ice cream maker that gets lots of use during the summer, but you can make ice cream from scratch in a plastic bag! Here is a recipe from Delish. There are lots of cute popsicle molds on Amazon, but if you have juice, an ice tray, and popsicle sticks that is all you need to make your own popsicles.

Outdoor Movie Night

My oldest daughter received a small projector that connects to our streaming platforms as a gift. We can hang up a sheet out back and have our own outdoor movie night. You can set chairs apart and even invite a few friends.

Chalk Art Exhibition

Our neighborhood recently did a driveway/sidewalk chalk art exhibition and it was so fun to walk around and see all the talented artists. In some cul-de-sacs, neighbors came together and created giant hopscotch boards, mazes, and obstacle courses. It is a great way to involve neighbors while keeping social distancing.

Theme Nights

We started doing theme nights once a week this spring and will continue them through the summer. Each Thursday one of our kids (we went in birth order) picked the theme for the night, they also planned the menu, how they wanted us to dress up, and the movie for the night. It has been so much and has given us something to look forward to each week. Some of the themes we have done include Harry Potter, Marvel, and Disney’s Descendants. This summer we are going to try and choose a different country each week for our theme night and explore food and culture from that country.

Find New Walking Trails

One of the constants for us during Quarantine has been to go on family walks in and around our neighborhood. In the DMV we are lucky to have so many national and local parks. I am hoping that more of our local parks will be open so we can explore new trails for family walks.

Family Service Project

We have had many conversations with our kids about how the Quarantine has affected our neighbors and community—physically, emotionally, and economically. We will spend some time this summer helping our community, whether it is making sandwiches for Martha’s Table, checking in on neighbors to see if they need groceries or a meal, and donating items to a local food pantry.

I grew up in the 1980s and my summers were pretty simple—riding bikes, running through sprinklers, and eating popsicles. My kids will be getting a taste of that this summer.

Have your summer plans been affected by the Quarantine? Share ways you’re planning to make this the best summer ever despite the Quarantine in the comments below!


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Jane was born and raised in Wilmington, DE. She met her husband 20 years ago and settled in Fairfax, VA in 2004. Jane is an only child turned big family mom of 10 kids ages 15 to newborn. They are the family next door just supersized. Jane considers herself an expert in free and low cost family friendly activities in Fairfax County and DC. Jane has battled Hypermesis Gravidarum (HG) in 7 pregnancies and Postpartum Depression last year, she is an advocate for awareness and support of HG and PPD moms. Likes: a good cup of Earl Grey tea, working out or walking with friends, exploring new parks and activities with her family, and reading travel websites. Follow Jane on IG at @10busybeesfamily or FB at @10busybees.