COVID-19 continues to disrupt our lives. From diminished work hours and income to summer camps that are socially distant, 2020 has brought immense changes. As summer days arrive bringing extra daylight hours in the evenings, many families are looking for activities that are fun, inexpensive and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“Summer nights mean longer daytime hours, and traditionally family time has included trips to theme parks, visiting friends or family, or even week long vacations,” comments Christopher T. Sneed, University of Tennessee Extension consumer economics specialist. “With the disruptions caused by COVID-19, some families are struggling to make ends meet and looking for inexpensive options for some family fun during the summer months.”

Sneed suggests considering these options for nighttime entertainment as a family this summer:

• Going for a walk in your neighborhood

• Exploring a nearby park and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from people not in your household

• Having a family game night, with board games, card games, or outdoor games like hide and seek or tag

• Writing letters to family or friends you have not been able to see or visit

• Playing charades, Pictionary or other games that use imaginations

• Cooking dinner together as a family or baking a dessert for neighbors

• Completing a scavenger hunt at home or in the neighborhood

• Playing water games on warm sunny days, with water balloons, water guns or other discount toys

Another option for family time is to plant and tend a garden together, says the expert. Not only will this help fill summer evenings, but the produce a garden yields can be healthy for the family budget and provide nutritious options at mealtime.

“Lots of online retailers have also offered free content in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds the expert. “Taking advantage of some of these offers can help break up the monotony of staying home and isolating during summer months.” Sneed suggests looking for virtual tours of zoos, aquariums or museums first, as these options can provide supplemental education to children.

For other ideas for family activities, visit the UT Extension website or contact the UT Extension-Decatur Co. office at 731-852-2831.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu​.

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