Ingredients for Safe, Healthy Summer Fun

With long, sunny days upon us, and the reopening outdoor spaces as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to subside, kids and parents are eager to get out of the house and enjoy some of their most cherished summertime traditions and activities. Keep your summer safe, healthy and fun with the tips below.
At the Y, we believe quality family time is essential for building strong relationships and promoting healthy habits. This summer, outdoor time is more important than ever for families that have spent extra time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. When you head outside for family fun, follow these five tips:* 
1. Bring hand sanitizer, so you can wash hands while you are out.
2. Don’t touch stuff. Teach your kids to be careful about touching objects and surfaces that may carry germs, such as doorknobs and elevator buttons. All the things that kids like to play with or climb on – playground equipment, park toys, public benches, etc. – are contamination risks, too. Refer to tip #1 in case your kids forget!
3. Bring masks along. Hopefully you can maintain appropriate physical distance, but if you find yourself in closer contact with others, you’ll want to put them on. Note that children under two-years-old should not wear masks for safety reasons.
4. Choose low-traffic outdoor spaces. If you don’t have a yard or space of your own, find an outdoor space that isn’t too crowded.
5. Keep up the physical distancing while you’re outdoors. The chances of catching something from someone as they pass by is quite small, but it’s best to give them as much space as you can.
*Source: Harvard Medical School
Keep Kids Safe Around Water 
As “America’s Swim Instructor,” the Y is committed to bridging the gap in the delivery of swim lessons and water safety education. With some pools and beaches open across the country and others remaining closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important for your family to focus on water safety as children may be exposed to unsupervised bodies of water during outdoor time. Did you know that drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 14 and under? Keep your kids safe with these tips:
Be a Water Watcher. Maintain constant visual contact with all children playing in or near pools and other bodies of water.
Don’t let kids play breath-holding games. They can easily lose consciousness and drown.
Keep kids away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
Use a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket to keep young or inexperienced swimmers safe when near ponds and lakes, on boats or in pools.
Create a Fun Camp Experience at Home
The Y camp experience is all about learning skills, developing character and building self-confidence. If your family chooses to keep your kids at home this summer, with a little creativity, there are still many ways they can enjoy some of the best parts of camp! 
Access virtual programs. With virtual platforms like YMCA 360, your kids can dance, do yoga, write poetry, explore music and much more!
Create a “Camp in a Box” experience. The American Camping Association has compiled a list of ready-to-use resources, including arts & crafts, music and STEM activities you can use to create a fun and enriching experience for your kids at home this summer.
Take indoor activities outside. Enjoying the outdoors is a major part of any camp experience. Try an art project, science experiment or just read a book outside.
Connect with friends and family virtually. Your kids may not be homesick this summer, but they probably have people in their lives that they miss seeing. Encourage them to exchange handwritten letters with friends, grandparents and other family members. Follow up with a face-to-face call or a physically-distanced meeting outside!