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5 Ways Your Family Can Celebrate Summer while Social Distancing

This summer’s activities may look a little different than usual, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the warmer weather with your family a little closer to home. Serve up some family fun and bonding with one of these five special summer events—without even leaving your driveway!

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Cook Up a Family BBQ

Nothing says summer like cooking on the grill. First, make sure your outdoor space is cookout ready by cleaning up any remnants of spring thaw—dead leaves, dirt piles, and other debris—and creating a cozy gathering space. Set up a spread of sides and condiments on an outdoor table, and take care of the main dish barbecue-style. Your family can enjoy a hot meal al fresco while keeping the heat out of the kitchen.

Do you avoid cooking on the grill because you’re not sure how to keep it clean? Check out our helpful tips on cleaning your BBQ grill with items you already have in your cupboards. Once you conquer the art of cleaning the barbecue, you’ll be a grill master in no time!

Take Your Kids Backyard Camping

Whether you’re a family of seasoned campers or you’ve never been camping, setting up camp in the backyard can feel like a special event. Commit to sleeping outside and only going in for bathroom breaks. Use a tent if you have one or create your own. Start with a waterproof layer on the ground, like a tarp, then pile on blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags until it’s comfy. Hang sheets, blankets, or tarps from nearby trees or clotheslines to make the walls and ceiling.

Start the evening with a family cookout and roast marshmallows for s’mores as the coals cool or before turning off the gas. Or, if you have a backyard fire pit, roast hot dogs and marshmallows and take turns telling your best stories around the campfire. Plan your backyard camping around an astronomical event, like the Perseid meteor shower in mid-August. (Hint: Use NASA’s sky calendar to find out what’s happening with the stars and planets.)

Now Showing: Outdoor Movie Night

Bring the fun of an old-fashioned drive-in movie theater to your backyard. String up a solid white (or light) bed sheet or blanket or use the surface of the house or garage, then switch on a projector to show a movie once darkness falls. Clean up your outdoor furniture for seating or simply cozy up on the ground with blankets and pillows, and pass around a big bowl of popcorn while enjoying a movie under the stars.

No projector? Some schools or libraries will rent them out for a nominal charge. Or, if you’re looking to invest in one of your own, newer mini projectors offer affordability, easy connectability to streaming devices, and even the ability to project on the ceiling for an inclement-weather alternative.

Enjoy an Indoor Floor Picnic

A rainy day doesn’t have to stop the fun. Bring the picnic inside to a novel spot, like the kitchen floor, or get cozy in the living room. Keep things simple with just a picnic blanket or plan ahead and decorate your indoor space to look like the great outdoors with string lights, paper trees, and faux flowers—bonus points for a large mat of artificial turf. You could even embrace the indoor setting and set up a blanket fort to dine in. Prepare finger foods for easy, minimally messy eating and enjoy an ant-free picnic—just be sure to vacuum up any crumbs to keep it that way!

Plan a Backyard Beach Trip

If you can’t make it to the beach, bring the beach to you. Think about what your family enjoys about the destination. Is it building sandcastles and wading into the shallow end of the water? Set up a sandbox and an inflatable pool. How about reading under an umbrella while the kids splash around? Position a chaise lounge chair under a beach umbrella and crack open a beachy read while the kids play in the sprinkler. You could even pack a cooler full of drinks and snacks to enhance the beach vibe. Pro tip: Keep the beach outside with these helpful hints for cleaning sand from your home!