Summertime in Florida probably sounds a lot more magical to people that live somewhere else! Those of us that dwell here knows it can be simultaneously sticky and sweltering, prone to daily afternoon thunderstorms, and open season for bugs. But summer in Florida is also supremely beautiful, especially when experienced at our cool springs and white, sandy beaches.
Whether it’s an indoor or an outdoor day you’re looking for, it’s great to have some playful ideas in your back pocket. Here are 10 suggestions to enrich your summer for both your typical children and your children with unique abilities.
- Pack a picnic. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t to be far, and it doesn’t have to be during the hottest part of the day! Grab an old blanket and some snacks or a loaf of bread and jars of peanut butter and jelly. Your kids will delight in just getting “out there,” whether it’s the back yard or a local park. There’s something fun about eating — and just being — outside.
- Pitch a tent in the living room! If it’s too hot to be outside, why not camp inside? Set up a tent and allow your children to bring their blankets, stuffed animals and books inside. Their imaginations will take delight in the new space.
- Take that mess outside. Summer makes it easy to explore sensory activities outdoors, where everything — and everyone — can be cleaned up with a hose. Now’s the time to paint with shaving cream or fill a bucket with dry rice and start exploring. Dress the kids in their swimsuits if it makes it easier!
- Visit the beach. If you’re a Floridian, there’s a beautiful beach a short drive away. And beaches aren’t just fun, they’re filled with teachable moments about natural exploration and self-care. Encourage all of your children to participate more in the process, from dressing themselves to carrying their own toys to reminding you to reapply their sunscreen.
- Create your own ball pit. Inexpensive phthalate-free balls are available for purchase online and can be used outdoors in a kiddie pool or indoors in a bathtub, with or without water. They’re colorful, stimulating and easy to pick up.
- Go to a concert. Many communities host family-friendly concerts at this time of year, and you can usually position your children closer or farther away from the action according to your preference.
- Photograph your day. With smartphones, it has never been easier to snap casual photos. Take advantage of this opportunity by chronicling your child in their daily adventure and make a devoted time to look at those pictures in the evening. It can become a time to retell and celebrate each day. Take it to the next level by printing a few pictures and putting them in a scrapbook that your child can share with friends and family.
- Make a graffiti wall. Too hot or too rainy for sidewalk chalk? Cover a section of an indoor wall with paper and let the kids have at it. If your kids really love it, consider painting a portion of the wall with chalkboard paint, or just buy a large whiteboard.
- Visit a farm or petting zoo. Bring a few dollars to buy some food so your kids can get up close and personal with the animals. Don’t forget the wipes and hand sanitizer!
- Dance party. When all else fails, push the furniture out of the way and turn on some favorite tunes. There are no wrong moves in the privacy of your own home, and few activities bring out more joyful smiles than dancing with your loved ones!
And remember funds in an ABLE United account can be used at any time to help maintain or improve health, independence, or quality of life!