Summer is right around the corner. In this time of social distancing, we’re scratching our heads about what that even means. Sure, many camps and pools are closed and the novel coronavirus feels anything but new at this point, but many government services and businesses are still innovating to make life in the social distancing era easier and fun. Whether you’re looking to re-create the camp experience or a vacation at home or you simply want a way to occupy the kiddos (and yourself) for a few hours without a screen, we’ve got ideas – 50 of them, in fact. 

photo: iStock

1. Make the most of the great outdoors right behind your house by backyard camping.

2. That ninja camp didn’t work out? Set up an obstacle course at home or in the backyard.

3. Maybe your summer vacay is on hold, but you can still take virtual road trips.

4. Here are more ideas for at-home fun.

5. You know all that gas you’ve saved by not driving anywhere? Use it to visit five places you can see without leaving your car.

6. Sign the under 16 set up for a virtual running, cycling or swimming challenge.

7. Here’s a list of places best suited for two wheels and a list of bikes for every age.

8. Take a swim in a natural watering hole (and bonus! It has a waterfall).

9. Another option: make a road trip of touring Maryland’s waterfalls.

10. Yet another way to take to the water.

photo: Shari Romar

11. For more nature-based fun, download “A Field Guide to Fairfax County’s Plants and Wildlife” for free and then head outside to see what you can find.

12. Or become a National Park Service Junior Ranger from the comfort of your favorite computer screen.

13. Kingman and Heritage Islands in D.C. is a great – and off-the-beaten-path – spot for birding, biking and boating.

14. Grab your fishing gear and wait for a bite.

15. Pack a picnic and sunglasses, and plop down 6 feet away from others at Gravelly Point park to watch planes take off and land at Reagan National Airport.

16. For a closer view of some amazing aircraft, take a virtual tour of the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

17. Take a hike. No, really. Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton has several trails to accommodate safe spacing, or check out nearby Mason Neck State Park, which has canoe, kayak and bike rentals.

18. It’s tee time somewhere.

19. Quit putt-putting around and call to make sure these places are open. If they’re not, no worries.

photo: Jeremy Segrott via Flickr 

20. All that outdoor activity will work up an appetite. Grab a pizza or a make-your-own kit from one of these area eateries.

21. Cool off on a hot summer afternoon or evening with DIY ice cream.

22. Go old-school with a drive-in movie

23. Find your way out of a virtual Harry Potter-themed room.

24. There’s no disguising it: Spy skills are fun to learn.

25. Keep distance learning going with the Children’s Science Center.

26. The Maryland Science Center has also moved online.

27. Fly your creativity flag with Hirschhorn Kids at Home.

28. Plus, the Smithsonian has launched free streaming programs.

29. Learn to draw like Mo Willems.

photo: Tatiana Syrikova via Pexels 

 

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30. Paint your own pottery at home and bring it back to be fired in the kiln.

31. Get your theater fix with the Kennedy Center @ Home live and on-demand performances.

32. Or watch a Couch Concert.

33. Brush up on presidential history; it is an election year, after all.

34. Summer camp canceled? Not if it’s online.

35. Fortify your kids’ funny bone.

36. Think inside the box.

37. (Sing this one fast in your head.) It’s fun to work out from home with the YMCA.

38. If ever we needed Zen, it’s now – with or without the littles.

photo: iStock

39. A virtual story time is still story time.

40. Pump up the volume.

41. Learn some tasty life skills.

42. Social distancing does not apply to date night.

43. But it does apply to birthday parties for those summer babies.

44. Go fly a kite – on the National Mall. 

45. Make a bug catcher, but let those murder hornets fly free.

46. The coronavirus canceled the Olympics, but you can still host some medal-worthy games

photo: Mi Pham via Unsplash 

47. Turn on the sprinkler.

48. Hit the beach, but check rules on swimming.

49. Sew face masks to donate to first responders.

50. This list shows that the possibilities are endless.

—Stephanie Kanowitz

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