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Summer is so close that you can almost smell the sunscreen and freshly cut grass. For most military families, this summer will look completely different than anything we’ve ever experienced. Orders for PCS have been delayed or canceled and states are only now slowly reopening businesses due to COVID-19. Even with the global pandemic, however, you can still enjoy your summertime.

Regardless of where you live, there is going to be a new normal in place for a while. Although it’s a hard adjustment, try and embrace the saying that it is different – and that’s okay. There are still many things you’ll be able to do safely with your family this summer.

Get crafty

Masks have become the new normal and, in most places, it is a requirement for entry. With this in mind, try and make it fun for your family. Order some fun 100% cotton fabric and try your hand at making unique and crafty masks. You can even get your kids involved by letting them pick out the kind of fabric they want for theirs. This will make having to wear one a little easier if they are involved in making them.

Spend time outside

Studies have shown that spending times outdoors improves mental and physical health. Most state parks are reopening with safety restrictions in place. As most of the country has just spent months in the seclusion of their home, this is a great way to truly enjoy your summer. Look up your local parks and plan days of hiking and exploring. Some are even open for camping if you are game. It is a great way to get everyone moving outside and will feel great too. Other great outdoor ideas:

  • Spend time redoing your outdoor area with new plants and decorations. By doing small things it will make it even more fun to be outside if you can’t go far.
  • Go fishing in a nearby pond or lake and enjoy the sunshine.
  • Plan a picnic day outside and bring your favorite board or card game for the family to play together.
  • Find new bike trails and bring the whole family for a ride.
  • If you live near a beach or a lake, enjoy time on the water.
  • Visit a farm and go picking.
  • Still feeling nervous and don’t want to go far? Invest in a great play sprinkler and mini pool for the kids and go outside to enjoy the sunshine and some waterplay. It will refresh everyone!

Road trip

Sometimes just getting in the car and driving can change everything. You can drive with no destination in mind or truly explore your area. With military families moving every two to three years, there isn’t always time put aside for playing tourist. Change that this summer by looking up the must see things and planning visits to those attractions, with your fun masks and some hand sanitizer in hand. If you are able to PCS, check out your map and find some must stop spots. Many museums, zoos, and other destinations are reopening for the summer. Your visit will look a little different and that’s okay. You can still enjoy these places safely with your family.

This summer will be different, there is no pretending that it won’t. Regardless of the changes and restrictions, it can still be a fun summer. Your summertime experience for this year will be what you make it. It can be absolutely amazing if you embrace it. So, put on your epic mask and get outside into the sunshine! Happy summer y’all.