Summer 2020 might look a little different than we imagined it would. With many summer camps cancelled, kid-friendly events postponed, and many family-friendly destinations operating in an entirely new way, we’ll have to get creative with how we keep our little ones entertained this year.
Thankfully, there are plenty of virtual and screen-free activities you can do with kids at home this summer, most of which involve or support a Portland-area business in one way or another. Avoid the dreaded “I’m bored” with one (or several!) of these interactive, kid-approved activities you can do from the comfort and safety of your own living room or backyard.
Sign Them Up for Camp at Home With Avid4 Adventure
Photo Courtesy of Avid4 Adventure
This year, many summer camps have been cancelled — which is just one of the many losses we’ve felt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Avid4 Adventure has decided to press on in a truly unique fashion by providing Camp at Home. During this week-long camp, an instructor exclusive to you will provide a small, private group with the authentic programming Avid4 Adventure is known for, at your home, backyard, and nearby parks and trails.
The group can include just your kids, or your family and another family, which gives you the opportunity to have your own private group of up to four kids between 1st and 5th grade. The instructor will help the children gain confidence in topics like navigation, shelter building, outdoor cooking, wildlife education, Leave No Trace, outdoor ethics, emergency response and preparedness, and much more. Sign up for Camp at Home happening on a weekly basis between June 15 through August 21.
Create a Craft Together
Get crafty at home while leaving the supply shopping to someone else. The Craft Factory is offering crafts to-go, including projects for robots, crowns, fairy houses and owls — with more fun crafts to come! Crafts start at $14 each and the price goes down with each additional craft you order. You can also purchase a glue gun and glue sticks if needed, and Craft Factory Crafts is offering curbside pickup at this time. The Craft Factory also offers Virtual Craft Birthday Parties! Customers can order crafts for their guests, drop off at their guest’s houses, schedule a group Zoom or FaceTime and craft together! Orders of 5 or more crafts are just $10 each. Orders can be placed daily between 10-2 with curbside pick up available Fridays and Saturdays from 10-2, or by appointment. Stay up to date with Crafts To Go choices by visiting their website, Facebook or Instagram.
Portland Craft Bar is offering virtual workshops for kids, which includes a class supply pack delivered to your door for each project and guided online instruction each week. Classes take place for one hour between 3 and 4 p.m. on the scheduled days. As restrictions relax and schools reopen, Portland Craft Bar will revert to their onsite model and regular schedule.
Sign Them Up for a Virtual Engineering for Kids Class
Engineering for Kids provides a range of engineering classes in the Portland area for children up to 14 years old. And at this time, they are offering virtual classes that cover many fields of engineering while teaching students about problem solving and creative thinking through the Engineering Design Process. They’ll explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) alongside peers online — all while learning how to thrive in a virtual environment.
Even if you can’t go to OMSI, you can bring the learning and experimentation to your home with Science at Home. Follow along with their experiments and demonstrations on video to keep your little ones curious and excited about science. Plus, they have a number of fun science activities you can do at home with a few simple materials and their instruction. OMSI also has a few in-depth educational videos or lectures for those looking for a deeper dive!
Create Your Own Outdoor Movie Theater
While we can’t go to the movie theater just yet, you can still bring the magic of the experience to your own backyard! Plus, it helps you enjoy a warm summer evening outside. Create your own outdoor movie screen using this HGTV guide, which walks you through the process of making a screen using an old bedsheet, some two-by-fours, cement and planters. Then fill your backyard space with comfy pillows, a few outdoor chairs, blankets and, of course, plenty of popcorn for a perfect movie night under the stars!
Try Out a New Kid-Friendly Recipe
Cooking and meal prep can be an overwhelming feat — especially during a pandemic. Portland-based Minimalist Baker celebrates simple cooking by sharing recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, one bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare. Dana, the recipe developer, content creator, and food photographer behind the brand, has been blogging in some form since 2010. And her experience shows on her gorgeous (and super helpful!) blog. She has a ton of kid-approved recipes in her arsenal, from peanut butter s’moreos to raspberry coconut mango sorbet.
Plant a Garden Together
Spruce up your yard, get out in the sunshine, and teach your kids a little bit about gardening all the while! Whether you’re looking to plant a few flowers or create a large vegetable garden, involve the kids in the process for a fun (and productive!) family activity. Cornell Farm Nursery has an online shop so you can place an order ahead of time and pick it up at your convenience. But if you’d rather shop in person, consider leaving the kids at home and following their policies and procedures to get the supplies you need. Whether you need perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees, edibles, gardening supplies, or puzzles and toys for kids, Cornell Farm has you covered!
Break Out a New Board Game or Puzzle
A good old-fashioned board game or puzzle can keep the whole family entertained for hours — especially on a rainy or gloomy day. If you’re lacking options, Cloud Cap Games has a wide selection of games for all ages, puzzles, books and much more! They are only offering store pickup at this time on Wednesdays through Saturdays between 12–14 p.m.; online orders will be ready for pickup within 5–10 minutes.
Read a Book Together
Keep their minds sharp throughout the summer by keeping a steady flow of books going in and out of your home. While all Multnomah County Library locations remain closed due to COVID-19, there are several ways to access the many resources at the library at this time, including eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, and other streaming services, online storytime, online classes and learning, and more.
Take a Virtual Class With Honey Heart Kids Yoga
Honey Heart Kids Yoga has gone virtual! Their open community classes will happen live on Fridays from 10–11:15 a.m. for ages 6–11 and 12–1 p.m. for ages 3–7. Honey Heart Kids Yoga classes feed the spirit that fuels the heart, imagination, and the body of a child through yoga poses, storytelling, singing, affirmations, and games. Register 60 minutes prior to class time and you’ll receive an email with a link to the Zoom class. Honey Heart is also offering a number of in-person camps throughout the summer, including a Mindful Yoga & Garden Camp June 29–July 3 and Yoga Summer Calm Camp July 6–10. More information about camps and classes can be found here!
Experience a small dose of the thrill and excitement of a roller coaster ride with Oaks Amusement Park’s virtual rides. From light-hearted kiddie rides to thrilling coasters, there’s something for every level of rider in your household. While Oaks Amusement Park is closed for the time being, you can still support this locally run nonprofit historical landmark by purchasing a gift card or ride bracelet online to be redeemed at a later date. They are currently offering a 20% bonus on any gift card purchase.
The Portland Art Museum has always kept our little ones learning and exploring the world of art — and a stay-at-home order has not changed that. They created The Poster Project, an online resource of lessons and activities created by teachers for teachers — and parents! Choose from a variety of interactive activities your little ones can do at home with your guidance. You can also browse online galleries of the museum!
Watch Oregon Zoo Videos
See the fascinating creatures living at the Oregon Zoo without ever leaving your home! The zoo has a wide variety of videos on their YouTube channel, including videos about second-chance animals who were orphaned, injured or displaced, tiny goat visits with other animals at the zoo, river and sea otters, conservation and biodiversity topics, and much more. Until we can step foot in our beloved zoo, these videos will keep the little ones entertained and learning about wildlife.
Although this year might look different, we hope you enjoy your summer with your little ones!