Three years ago, we went to New Hampshire. Two years ago, we went to Walt Disney World. Last year, we went to the Azores. This year… we are going nowhere. It’s a summer-long staycation. And while it’s somewhat disappointing (especially because I was hoping to visit one of my dearest friends in Los Angeles), it’s also kind of a relief.
Traveling with little ones is… colorful.
The time that goes into packing, checking, repacking, and planning for the unexpected is exhausting, as is the actual traveling with little people who are wholly dependent on you in an unfamiliar location. Yes, when we’re at home those two little princesses are still dependent on me, but at least I know where the tablets, TV remotes, paint, and Play-Doh are immediately (most of the time). And when all else fails, there’s a trip to Target to distract them from the summer heat.
But really, now that our plans have been canceled and I’ve been home for longer than my usual 2.5-month reprieve from school, I’ve had to get a little creative during this COVID-crazy time.
In order to make our coronocation as lively, fun, and memorable as possible, I’ve been trying new activities and sticking with some fail-safe favorites. Way back in April, before we really knew what the summer would entail, I ordered one of those inflatable pools on Amazon. I didn’t realize how fortuitous this early purchase was at the time. I also ordered a jumbo-pack of Crayola sidewalk chalk and large jugs of bubbles. Those three items have ruled our summer. My girls love taking a dip when the sun is scorching and chasing bubbles when there’s a sweet summer breeze. Plus, my mom has become quite the chalk artist and loves taking the girls in the driveway to create pieces of art while I teach my remote summer school classes each morning.
To mix things up a bit, I also purchased an annual zoo membership for Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island. Stone Zoo and Franklin Park Zoo have reciprocal memberships, which is an added bonus. Even with social distancing guidelines in place, visiting the zoo is a magical experience for my two animal-loving angels. Another bonus to the membership is discounted rides on the carousel at Roger Williams — it wasn’t open for our first visit, but it is now, so you know we’ll be riding in circles and munching on popcorn during our next visit!
The thing is, while my oldest knows about COVID-19 and understands that’s why we wear masks in public right now, she doesn’t know that we aren’t having the fun we were supposed to have this summer — she just knows we are having fun. And that’s what I have to remember when I start to feel bad about being “stuck” at home.
We’re not stuck; we just need to get a little more creative with our time and space. As far as my girls know, this is already the best summer ever, just because we’re having fun together. As long as I keep moving forward with staycation fun like slime experiments, swing set obstacle courses, and tie-dye creations, they’ll never realize it was supposed to be any different — and that is pretty awesome.