Summer might be the most popular season among school-age kids. For many, it means hot weather, a break from school, more time to spend with friends, and maybe even a family vacation. That said, in light of COVID-19, this year may look a little different.

If you’re like a lot of families, you might be trying to limit spending for the next few months (or longer) to survive a recession. But summer vacation can still be entertaining and engaging for your kids. Patelco is committed to providing the guidance you need to achieve and maintain financial wellness – including helping your kids thrive this summer on a budget.

Outdoor activities

Summertime is all about making the most of the great outdoors. But if your typical family excursions aren’t in the cards this year, you can still have a good time outside with these outdoor summer activities for kids.

Picnic in the park: A family picnic is an excellent alternative to eating out at restaurants, and it’s a perfect way to mix things up for lunch or dinner. You can even make it a weekly summer tradition and enjoy an al fresco meal together at a different park each time.

Outdoor movies: Drive-in movie theaters are also enjoying a boost in popularity as many traditional theaters remain closed. Search online to see if there’s one near you.

Backyard camping: Instead of heading to a real campground, why not pitch a tent in your backyard? With sleeping bags, flashlights, snacks, and stargazing, it can be just as fun as the real thing.

If you don’t have access to a backyard or not enough space, check out the National Park Service’s camping page, which lists what national parks have available space and are open.

Summertime PE: To help your kids stay active, consider creating your own physical education program. Designate a day each week to an activity the whole family can enjoy, like kickball, capture the flag, red rover, or an obstacle course.

Hometown tour: You can explore new places with your kids without leaving town. Visit your city’s best landmarks, museums, and walking paths. To make it more educational, tie in some fun trivia or local history, which can be found online.

Indoor activities

Spending time outdoors is essential during the sunny season. However, it’s still a good idea to have some indoor activities for kids on hand – especially as many businesses and activities remain closed due to COVID-19.

Cook or bake together: Not only is cooking a fun activity with a potentially delicious payoff, but it’s also educational. Ask your kids what their favorite restaurant meal or dessert is and learn how to cook or bake it together.

Visit a virtual children’s museum: Visiting a children’s museum can be a lot of fun, but did you know many offer virtual learning programs? Your kids can learn about science, tech, engineering, math, and the arts without leaving the house. The Exploratorium, one of the Bay Area’s favorite children’s museums, has added a lot more online content – check it out at exploratorium.edu/learn.

Paint something: Home improvement projects and crafts can be an enriching experience for kids. Many people have been cleaning out their homes during the pandemic, and one way to give new life to old things is with a fresh coat of paint. Old picture frames, lamps, bookends or shelves are all great candidates for fun and easy projects. And if you’re able, letting your kids choose a new bedroom wall color and then painting it together is an enjoyable way for your kids to learn a practical skill.

Learn about the outdoors: To help kids discover nature from home, the National Park Trust offers a range of free downloadable sheets for outdoor-themed activities. This includes art projects, scavenger hunts, windowsill gardening, dance challenges, and coloring sheets.

Patelco wants you to succeed in all aspects of life. We’re here to help you stay on track with your financial goals during uncertain times and at every other stage. With a bit of inspiration and some creativity, you can help your kids thrive this summer while sticking to a budget and maintaining your family’s financial wellness.