Stay at home, away from home
Even though one-third of all travelers say they are willing to drive 300 miles or more to reach vacation destinations over the next six months, they might not feel comfortable checking into a hotel. Enter the RV — which gives you the feeling of being “home” while also exploring the world. It’s the one mode of travel that is actually seeing an uptick this summer, with RV rentals up by 650%. “Our kids are out of camp and I am out of ideas, so we are taking them on a cross-country road trip to give them several doses of geography, history, and survival skills along the way,” says Bryce Gruber, a mother of five from New York City. Salzman says RVs give families the ability to travel, avoid crowds, and reduce the amount of screen time after months of distance learning and social isolation. “It’s aligned with many families’ desire to detox from the digital deluge that has accompanied social distancing,” he says.
Find crafty and creative inspiration outdoors
Stock up on craft supplies — patterned tapes and glue sticks, sidewalk chalk, toilet paper tubes and empty tissue boxes, paper, markers, and paints — and set up a creative discovery station outside. Try adding leaves, flower petals, and twigs to the mix to create interesting textures or organic sculptures. For new ideas throughout the summer, explore the printable activities on HP Print, Play, and Learn, including wildlife-inspired coloring sheets and games, instructions for making a bee hotel to bring pollinators to your yard, and science experiments you can do outside.
Take your backyard to the next level
Can’t go to the pool, the state fair, the local park? Bring the best of it into your backyard. With some pools and beaches still closed or limited, Jenn Falik, a beauty and style expert with a weekly newsletter in Westport, Connecticut, will be blowing up an enormous inflatable water slide for her two young girls to cool down in this summer. And she’s not the only one with the “just add water” idea — in some areas it’s been nearly impossible to find an inflatable pool for sale, and things like trampolines, bounce houses, and climbing domes are also in short supply. Ida Mims, a mother of two in Dallas, Texas, says the above ground pool they bought in April is the “best quarantine purchase ever. It keeps us outside and off electronics — and we can use it at least until September!” With the real summer Olympics canceled, consider creating your own backyard version, but with a retro twist. “I am thinking of going old-school this summer,” says Lauren Goldberg, a middle school principal and a mother of two boys living in Vermont. She’s planning events like a water balloon toss, cornhole, ring toss, and lawn games like badminton, croquet, or bocce ball. “These are things that all of us can do together, regardless of age and skill,” she says.