Updated: Sep 5, 2021
This summer holiday in Hong Kong is similar to last year. COVID-19 restrictions have relaxed locally, but for most there will be no holiday travel. What to do at home or locally outdoors? With summer holidays officially here in Hong Kong you may fear it could be a stressful time! We disagree: summer holidays can still be as fun and memorable as ever. Ok then, we have normal activities like playdates and summer camps but what else can we parents do?
Here are some tips and suggestions to make your home or local summer holidays fun and stress-free!
1. Keep a routine and stay positive
You probably have a routine for your kids while they were remote learning or with partial school days. Keeping a routine is just as important for the holidays this summer. Encouraging routines around meals, naps and bedtimes, even in the summer, will help break up the day and provide structure for your kids. More importantly, stay positive: kids will be happy if they see their parents are happy. Parents should be kind to themselves - and that parents can’t always create and attend to a theme park at home!
2. Make a list
The first step to having fun this summer is to create a "Things We Want to Do This Summer" list. Brainstorm with your kids and get your ideas up on the whiteboard. Many of the usual activities, like going away and visiting grandma, are not possible given the pandemic. It's important to have your kids come up with ideas by themselves, as they will likely be much more engaged in the activities. This will help kids to understand the need to stay home more this summer.
3. Camp at home
Get some blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, fishing rods, and scary stories ready, because it's time to turn your living room into a weekend adventure. Kids just love to make a pretend campfire, play board games and just spend time being lazy in the tent. With a little imagination, your kids turn any room in your apartment into a pretend "outdoor oasis".
4. Neighbourhood Scavenger Hunt
Get the local parents together and create a fun way for kids to spend the day in their neighbourhood with a scavenger hunt. Just create a list of plants, trees or anything that can be found in your neighbourhood or local park. It's best to be specific. Instead of asking them to identify any flower or tree, ask for a lily or a eucalyptus tree. If you want to share the results, consider setting up a Zoom call, or posting the results on a neighbourhood social media page or group. It's a great way for kids to get outdoors and learn a little more about where they live.
5. Paper games
"Dots and Boxes" is a fun and challenging game for both kids and adults. This game was published in the 19th century - way before the Internet - by French mathematician Edouard Lucas. Here's how you play:
Get a sheet of paper and put equally spaced dots on it just like this pattern.
Two players - you and your kid - take turns joining two horizontally or vertically adjacent dots by a single line.
The player who completes the fourth side of a square (i.e., a box) puts his or her initials (or a drawing!) inside and gets another turn. When all of the dots have been made into boxes, the player with the most boxes wins!
"Categories" is another paper game the kids will love. This is one of the games that you can involve three or more players and customise to your kids’ preferences and favourite subjects - so I make sure to include categories like reptiles or country names or even cartoon characters! It’s simple:
Distribute sheets of scratch paper
Each player should draw a 5x5 grid, with the topmost row to contain the set categories
In two minutes players need to think of as many items in a category as you can under each category.
A point goes to a player with the most unique items under all categories. By the end of the game, the player with the most points wins!
What's great about these pen-and-paper games is that they are super fun and they don’t require prizes or treats for kids to join!
6. Start a garden
One activity we love is to start a vegetable garden: kids can grow herbs such as basil and rosemary, or vegetables that are easier to grow. They can also start by saving their own seeds from fruits and vegetables. It’s very easy, lots of fun, and you still get to eat the vegetables and herbs in the end! For vegetables, we recommend starting with cucumber and tomato. For herbs, you can start with seeds that can be bought in packets at the local supermarket.
7. Foster a pet
This is a great way for your kids to have a new friend this summer. Also, they’ll learn some valuable responsibility skills. Check out your local animal shelters or pet foster associations for cats or dogs that need fostering. If you can, we suggest starting with kittens or pups. Kids will be thrilled to have a little furry friend in the house to take care of. They'll never get bored because they can always tend after the pets! The kids can weigh their chosen pet to track growth, or bathe and feed them. For cats, they can change the cat litter; for dogs, they can walk them with you every morning.
8. Take a virtual trip or holiday to anywhere in the world!
Although we can't travel for our holiday, you can still visit from your home through the internet. For example, you can plan sightseeing for your holiday and visit via the internet. Some tourist destinations stay connected online to virtual visitors through webcams, video stories, and hands-on activities. Where would you like to go and visit?
We'd love to think that this a great way to go for your activity planning this summer holidays! Remember to stay positive this summer and have fun.
Don’t forget to comment below on what you think - or stay tuned here or on our Facebook page for more!