Summer 2020 may look a little different than what you originally had planned, but it doesn’t have to be canceled completely. Here are 25 ways to keep your kids (and yourself!) entertained and having fun all season long.
—Catch a drive-in movie: Tibb’s Drive-In on Indy’s southwest side offers three screens of double features on most nights (they’re closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays), or you can pile the kiddos in the car and head to Wafford Theater Outdoor Movies at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds on designated Friday nights for a free, kid-friendly flick.
—Visit one of Indy Parks and Recreation’s 211 parks and go for a nature walk on one of the 135 miles of trails. Leslie Knope would be so proud.
—Talk to your children about racial justice. For tips and sample conversation starters, read this article on “100 Race-Conscious Things You Can Say to Your Child to Advance Racial Justice” at RaceConscious.org.
—Get the kids amped for the 104th running of the Indy 500 (currently scheduled for Sunday, August 23rd) by downloading a free activity packet from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s filled with coloring pages, crossword puzzles and word problems.
—Make a coronavirus piñata, or “coroñata,” fill it with candy or little goodies, and then have your kids take turns smashing the bejesus out of it.
—Up your paper folding skills by practicing the Japanese art of origami—you can start with a traditional crane tutorial, then progress to a fish, or even make a face mask from a pattern by Indiana University professor Jiangmei Wu.
—Let your children pick a few different types of root vegetable or squash seeds—you can order some from Westfield’s Urban Farmer or Tuttle Orchards in Greenfield—and plant them. Take bets on which variety will sprout first, and let the winner harvest the first crop when it arrives.
—Take an e-tour of a local Indiana museum or attraction, watch a play online, or attend a virtual concert.
—Pick an upcoming food-centric ‘national day’—like National Strawberry Shortcake Day on June 14th, or National Fried Chicken Day on July 6th—and celebrate by whipping up a picnic together that incorporates the taste treat.
—Learn a new recipe by taking an online cooking class. If baking’s your thing, check out local pastry chef Hattie McDaniel’s offerings, or try your hand at macarons with the pros at Broad Ripple’s Gallery Pastry Shop.
—Camp in the backyard with the family after doing curbside pickup for gear at Rusted Moon Outfitters or Sullivan Hardware & Garden.
—Ask your children to choose a notable local historical figure, like Madam C.J. Walker or Oscar Robertson, research their life and accomplishments, and share their favorite or most surprising findings with the rest of the family.
—Let the little ones drag out their sleeping bags and have an impromptu sleepover in the living room, complete with a pillow fight.
—If you’re a Marion County resident, sign your kids up for The Indianapolis Public Library’s summer reading program, running from June 1st to Aug. 1st. This year instead of logging individual books your child will keep track of the minutes they read, and prizes include Indianapolis Indians tickets and an Amazon gift card.
—Create your own version of a Native American stick dice game with easy instructions from the Eiteljorg Museum.
—Listen to a variety of Indiana Pacers’ players read basketball-themed children’s books for the Call-A-Pacer program.
—Organize a mini food drive of shelf-stable items to donate to a local food pantry.
—Visit an area farmers market and pick up some fresh strawberries and blueberries, then use them to make colorful fruit kabobs by alternating the fruit with mini marshmallows on wooden skewers. Tip: This is a great way to introduce little ones to the concept of repeating patterns.
—Watch a meteor shower together—the next major activity should be the Southern Delta Aquariids from July 12th to Aug. 23rd.
—Order milkshakes and French fries and share them in your car at retro drive-in restaurant The Historic Steer In Diner on Indy’s east side. For extra ambiance, make a playlist of 1950s-era songs to listen to while you chow down.
—Relax together with a free online yoga or meditation class. Two to try: Cosmic Kids Yoga and Gaia’s classes.
—Break out the chalk and let the kids liven up your sidewalk. You can encourage them to write positive phrases, friendly messages for passersby, or even give them a ‘word of the day’ and ask them to draw a picture to accompany it.
—Make your own playdough, courtesy of Newfields.
—Order a ‘camp in a box’ activity kit from The Indiana State Museum; each kit has enough supplies for five different activities, with themes like ‘kitchen chemistry’ and ‘planet mars.’
—Tired of doing jigsaw puzzles? If you have a puzzle that’s no longer useable because you’ve lost too many pieces, you can repurpose the remainder into a craft project like a monogram letter canvas artwork or a puzzle piece picture frame.
Stephanie Groves is an Indy-based freelance writer and stay-at-home mom who will definitely be celebrating National Strawberry Shortcake Day.