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30 Ways to Have Socially Distanced Fun This Summer

Naming Feelings During a Tough Summer

Several teen and young adult clients have shared with me that this summer has not felt like summer to them. Can you relate?!

This summer has not offered the rest or space or extra income that previous summers have. The intersection of pandemic and the racial justice uprisings is a pretty intense space, and you are holding a lot. 

Hanging out with friends has been non-existent and/or stressful. Jobs were difficult or impossible to find with so many businesses closed and people unemployed. Current events have brought out the full range of emotions, lots of questions, and plenty of tough conversations. And the list of personal and collective grief and losses and questions and concerns goes on.

Now, in a few short weeks, you will be headed back to school.

Some of you are still unsure what the “fall” will look like; you might be feeling unsettled by the uncertainty regarding the school year. Will school be online? Will you feel safe attending in-person school and if so, when and under what circumstances?

I see you, I hear you, and everything you are feeling is valid and real. Please reach out to a trusted adult if you need support. <3 

Focusing on the Present and Creating Fun

Tending to your self-care and your genuine need for fun is important. Rest and pleasure are important parts of the revolution, too. As you continue to process the complexities of this time, I invite you to spend time thinking about what you want and need for the remaining days of summer. What kind of fun do you want to make space for?

The following list offers a range of ideas and activities that you might like to consider. As you read it, notice which ideas feel new or different. Notice which ideas make you feel light or excited. Also, notice what other ideas come to mind as you explore.

Don’t forget that even brief activities, quick bursts of laughter or inspiration, and random moments of joy COUNT. Maybe you’ve spent a good portion of the day watching Netflix, and you’re feeling a little heavy. That’s okay! It’s not too late to encourage yourself to change things up, go to the kitchen, and bake some cupcakes. Or take a drive to a place with a nice view or a cool building. Or call a friend on FaceTime.

Ideas for Fun, Socially Distanced and/or At-Home Summer Fun

Arts/Crafts/Creative Ideas:

  • Create art– alone or outside with friends. (Austin folks, check out these online classes and to-go kits!)
  • Redecorate your room.
  • Take a painting class on YouTube.
  • Paint rocks with inspiring messages and hide in the neighborhood (in approved places).
  • Build a birdhouse.
  • Sew new clothes or give old clothes new life. (Tie-dye, reverse tie-dye, patches, other customizations, and transforming shirts or hoodies are some places to start.)
  • Take photographs of interesting buildings or scenery.
  • Do a socially distanced photoshoot with a friend in a fun outdoor location.
  • Cosplay.

Foodie Ideas:

  • Have a themed dinner with your family (or outdoor with friends). Try a new recipe and dress up in accordance with the theme.
  • Try a new recipe or technique from TikTok.
  • Have a cooking competition with your family members.

Outdoor + Movement Ideas:

  • Take a bike ride, roller skate/blade, or skateboard.
  • Learn to hula hoop and add new tricks.
  • Learn a TikTok dance.
  • Take a sunset hike.
  • Host a virtual dance party.
  • Birdwatch. (If you’re in the Austin-area, check out Purple Martins at your own parking lot party!)
  • Camp in your backyard.
  • Buy some new plants or repot plants you already have.

Movie/TV Ideas:

  • Go to a drive-in movie. (Check out Blue Starlite in Austin.)
  • Host a Netflix live watching party.
  • Organize a movie night. Prepare snacks + create a cool set up, maybe even projected outside.

Game Ideas:

  • Dig out the board games.
  • Play D&D online. Roll20 has a great online platform to play with friends.

Money-Making Ideas: (If you’re under 18, get parent permission to start your own business.)

  • Start an eBay or Etsy business.
  • Learn how to wrap presents for an at-home holiday job.
  • Organize and tag items for a socially-distanced garage sale.
  • Sell clothing you are ready to part with via your IG stories (+ porch pick-up).

Also, check out some of these even more elaborate and interesting ideas from Vice!

How to Use These Ideas

  1. Pick one idea and add it to each day on your calendar for the remaining days of summer.
  2. Look through the list with your family and pick 1 item to do together each week.
  3. Explore the ideas with a friend and pick a few items you’d like to do together before school starts.
  4. Create your own “camp” and design a week of fun activities for yourself.
  5. Any other way you’d like!

As you navigate making plans with friends or family who live outside of your household, this guide might be helpful. Finally, you may also enjoy documenting your support system with this guide + map.

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