Fun in (or out of) the Sun: Summer Safety During COVID-19

Paige Schildkamp, MPH, Health Educator

As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, our summers are, perhaps, going to look very different than we had planned. However, there are still many ways that we can safely be active and enjoy the summer weather and opportunities. 

Here are some ideas for activities you and/or your kids can try:

  • Send kids on a scavenger hunt. Try this one where kids have to find an object that begins with every letter of the alphabet. Or this nature-based hunt.
  • Make dinner (or any meal) together.
  • Beat the heat with a water fight.
  • Have a game night. For extra fun, add elements like an opening ceremony or other pomp and circumstance. 
  • Help your teen find a virtual volunteer opportunity
  • Take on a fitness challenge, like Deck of Cards or Spell Your Name. Or create an obstacle course
  • Learn about family history. 
  • Take a walk or hike. NC Parks has a very cool passport program for kids.
  • Have a dance party.
  • Play a trivia game. There are lots of different themes and types online. As an extra challenge for older kids, have them come up with their own sets of questions and “lead” the game in turns. 
  • Yoga and Mindfulness activities. Try this Insight Timer or Happify for guided stress relief!
  • Start a photo-a-day project.
  • Read a book.
  • Outside games like tag, or activities like jump rope and riding a bike. Use a chart like this one to track what activities your kids do. See if they can get the recommended 60 minutes of activity every day! 
  • Learn to draw, sew, crochet, or other craft skill.
  • Make fun and healthy snacks, like ants on a log, trail mix, popsicles, vegetable dip, or fruit ice cream
  • Build a fort.
  • Find shapes in the clouds during the day or in the stars at night.
  • Plant a garden. Poe can help

For other resources about summer activities and events for kids, check with your local health departments or libraries and the Poe Center’s website and social media. Also, check out PlayWorks and CATCH at Home for more creative activity ideas. Even if things don’t look quite the same, we’re all still here providing educational opportunities for our youth.      

While we are all having fun with these summer activities, and concentrating on protecting yourself and others from COVID-19, let’s not forget normal summer safety as well. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Water Safety
    • Teach kids to swim.
    • Always supervise children in and around water.
    • All children should wear a properly fitted life-jacket when out on a boat.
  • Heat Safety
    • Stay hydrated – drinks lots of water! 
    • Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
    • Dress children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
    • Try to schedule outside activities for morning and evening hours. Avoid spending too much time outside during the hottest midday and afternoon hours. 
    • Take cool showers and baths.
    • Seek medical care for any signs of heat-related illness, including heavy sweating, dizziness, weakness, headache, hot or red skin.
  • Sun Safety
    • Always wear sunscreen.
    • Wear clothes/hats that help cover skin and protect it from UV rays.
  • Insect Safety
    • Use an effective and safe insect repellent while playing outdoors.
    • Check children for ticks after time spent outside. 
  • General Safety
    • Get trained in CPR and basic first aid.
    •  Always supervise children on playgrounds and outside.
    • Use gates and fences around the house and outside.

For more information on all these safety tips, check out this link from the CDC

As a final reminder, as places start to reopen (like parks, playgrounds, pools, and summer camps), please be sure to follow all regulations about how to safely use these spaces. Poe will continue to update and share all information with you as it becomes available.

Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and FUN summer!

 Featured Poe Program: Summertime Safety

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 5th
Program Length: 45 minutes

Safe outdoor fun is the focus of this program. Children learn about protection from the sun, signs of overheating and dehydration, safe warm weather exercise and nutrition, poisonous plants, bug bites, and more. Be active, stay safe, and have safe fun in the hot sun.

To schedule a virtual program with Poe, contact our scheduler Amanda Bodenheimer at [email protected] today.

Featured Video: Let’s Get Moving! A Mini-Lesson with Paige from the Poe Center

Why do our bodies need physical activity? Do you know? Come find out with Paige, one of our Poe Center Educators! Follow along as Paige covers the basics: why we need activity, how it benefits our bodies, and a fun physical activity challenge you can complete at home. So get up, get moving, and come play with Poe!

Check out all of our Mini-Lessons here!