8 More COVID-Conscious Activities to Enrich Your Family’s Summer

By: Arianna Allen
Last week on the CCA Blog we shared seven ideas to help your child(ren) remain physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially engaged as we soak up these last couple weeks of summer. CCA Class of 2019 alumnus Arianna Allen is here to share eight more opportunities to consider before school resumes in the fall. Between these combined 15 ideas, there will be no room for boredom in your household!

  1. Save lives by donating blood and/or plasma.

     
    Through the donation of blood or blood plasma, you and your teenager could potentially save one or more lives! To donate blood, individuals must be at least 16 years old (with parental consent) and meet other criteria. If you live in Florida, you can find the nearest OneBlood donation site by clicking here; masks must be worn at the time of your donation.

    OneBlood is currently testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. According to their website, this is a way to determine if your immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether you have experienced symptoms. Should you or anyone in your household end up testing positive for antibodies, you may be eligible for donating blood plasma to help critically ill patients with your same blood type who are battling COVID-19. Some plasma donation centers will even compensate you for your time. To learn more about this process and its requirements, click here or visit OneBlood’s website.
    OneBlood is currently testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies.
    If your teenager ends up donating blood and/or plasma, this can be used as an opportunity to remind them how the blood of Jesus Christ ultimately saved our lives by washing our sins away, as far as the east is from the west:

    “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace . . .” —Ephesians 1:7

  2. Learn life-saving skills from home.

     
    The American Red Cross is currently offering a plethora of online classes that provide certifications. Below are some virtual classes that will not only benefit your child(ren), but also those around you. You never know what can happen one day, so it is always wise to be prepared.

    • CPR class
      There are a few different options to pick from when choosing a CPR class, so allow yourself some time to read each description carefully to make sure you are picking the one you desire. Each CPR class is $45. I am currently in the process of taking the Adult, Child and Baby First Aid/CPR/AED course, which prepares you to respond to real-world emergencies.

    • Babysitting class
      The Babysitting Basics training course is designed for youth ages 11 and older and costs $45. This is a great way for high school babysitters or those interested in getting into this field to expand their skill set and knowledge base. Additionally, parents will likely feel more confident hiring a certified babysitter, making this class and certification a great thing to add to your child’s resumé!

    • Cat and Dog First Aid
      If you’re a dog or cat owner, this $25, 35-minute online course can equip you with important skills that may one day benefit your pet and save their life. It will cover vital signs, breathing and cardiac emergencies, wounds and bleeding, seizures, and preventative care for cats and dogs.
    . . . skills that may one day benefit your pet and save their life.
  3. Surprise and delight!

     
    As we get caught up in the busy daily grind of life, we can somehow manage to forget about the people who are in closest proximity to us. According to Pew Research Center (2019), “a majority of Americans say they know only some of their neighbors” and “about a quarter of adults under 30 don’t know any of their neighbors.”
    About a quarter of adults under 30 don’t know any of their neighbors.
    If you fall into one of these statistics, no worries . . . it’s not too late for you and your family to safely engage in the community around you through small acts of kindness that show you care for them and are thinking of them. Whether it’s hand-delivering a flower or leaving a note of encouragement with a Bible verse on their front porch, your gesture and the Jesus they see in you will surely brighten their day and potentially mark the beginning of a new friendship.

    Another thing my mom and I have done in the past is make homemade banana bread for our neighbors, which has always been well-received! If this is your first time engaging in a conversation with your neighbor(s), try to get their names if possible, write them down (kids can be tasked with drawing a neighborhood map with names), and continue to build a relationship with them while social distancing, of course! Through such intentional relationship-building and kindness-spreading, we’re able to lead others closer to the Lord.
    Through such intentional relationship-building and kindness-spreading, we’re able to lead others closer to the Lord.
    Something my mom and I chose to do together to redirect our minds away from the worries triggered by this virus was write handwritten letters to people in our lives. We comprised a list of several individuals God put on our hearts to uplift and encourage. By blessing others in this manner, my thoughts of fear turned to thoughts of gratitude. This is a great activity that will allow you and your child(ren) to gain a fresh perspective and others-focused mentality, which I think we can all use during this time!

  4. Relish the memories . . . and create new ones too!

     
    Some of my favorite childhood memories with my parents include going through old photo albums, picture by picture, and reminiscing on precious memories while actively creating new ones. During this time of reflection, my family and I were able to engage in conversation and laughter. If you have photo albums or old family videos lying around, pull them out, and dust them off! This will not only take you back to the good ole days, but also spark organic conversation between you and your child(ren).
    If you have photo albums or old family videos lying around, pull them out, and dust them off!
    A similar activity to consider is printing some photos on your phone to make a photo album, scrapbook, or photobook digitally through Shutterfly or Chatbooks. This will help ensure that photos you love don’t get buried in your phone. I think we can all agree there’s something special about seeing a photograph in the printed form.

    Another way to create new memories with your family is by hosting a family talent show in your very own living room, or even outdoors if the weather is favorable. Here are some great tips from toymakers Melissa & Doug that will make the experience magical and memorable for everyone involved (yes, concessions for the intermission are involved!).
    I think we can all agree there’s something special about seeing a photograph in the printed form.
    You could even coordinate a family photoshoot with a photographer (many are coming to people’s homes or front porches while taking proper safety precautions) or use the self timer feature along with a tripod to host your own family photoshoot. Don’t forget to do the classic and frame worthy silly face pose!

  5. Cultivate cultural curiosity.

     
    Because America is a beautiful melting pot of people from different backgrounds and experiences, it is so important for children to learn about, appreciate, and respect other cultures. One way families can do this is by learning a new language. Broward County Library is offering FREE Rosetta Stone language lessons for library cardholders; click here to register for a library card instantly online.
    . . . it is so important for children to learn about, appreciate, and respect other cultures.
    If your child ends up brushing up on their Spanish skills and you’re interested in immersing them in the language further, students in Pre-K4—1st grade at CCA have the opportunity to enroll in the school’s unique Spanish Immersion Program, in which they will learn all of their core subjects in Spanish at no cost to their English language performance.

    Another aspect of culture involves learning about how history has impacted our current reality. A fun way your child(ren) can brush up on history and civics over the summer is by watching Schoolhouse Rock!, which is now streaming on Disney+. The songs in this show that was originally released in the 1970s will have you and your family singing (while simultaneously learning) for days! One of the most popular songs from the program is I’m Just a Bill, which takes viewers on a journey on how a bill becomes law on Capitol Hill.

  6. Appreciate the outdoors . . . while indoors!

     
    If you and your family are not fond of this South Florida heat, then these outdoor-themed activities that can be completed indoors may be right up your alley! The National Park Service is giving children the opportunity to become a Junior Ranger online! They’re also offering other free activities such as interactive virtual modules and printable worksheets. The City of Fort Lauderdale’s Parks & Recreation Department has also provided a few printable coloring pages for the younger kids on their website. As your child engages in these activities, they’ll be developing a greater understanding of and appreciation for nature and the environment — God’s beautifully crafted masterpiece.

    And if you’re the kind of family that doesn’t mind sweating or prefers to go on walks really early or late in the evening when it’s cooler, check out the neighborhood scavenger hunt Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Family Ministry put together.

  7. Learn how to code.

     
    With our world becoming more technological than ever, coding has become a highly sought after skill in today’s workforce. According to Code Wizards HQ, along with providing children with more career opportunities in the future, “learning to code can improve problem-solving abilities and computational thinking skills.”
    “Learning to code can improve problem-solving abilities and computational thinking skills.”
    If your child is interested in learning the basics of coding in an incredibly engaging way, check out Apple’s free Swift Playgrounds program that can be downloaded to a Mac computer or an iPad. If your child takes a liking to coding, perhaps they can continue developing this newfound interest in CCA’s award-winning robotics program that is open to elementary, middle, and high school students.

  8. Encourage fiscal responsibility.

     
    Knowing how to manage money is a skill that I am definitely learning at this stage in my life as a sophomore in college. I am so thankful to have stumbled upon Dave Ramsey’s Christ-centered resources, especially his EveryDollar budgeting app. He offers a wide-range of tools to ensure that not only adults, but also teens my age (& younger!) are prepared for money management.

    For younger children, Dave has created a Financial Peace Jr. kit that teaches children the important aspects of money through activity books, chore charts, labeled envelopes, and more; the kit also includes a parent guide so you can help walk your child(ren) through its contents. For teens, he has created the Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox, which will walk them through eight easy steps for starting their own business. Entrepreneurism has no age limits!

Entrepreneurism has no age limits!
While we know these times have been unique and challenging for many, we hope and pray that this two-part article has provided you and your family with a robust list of resources to make the most out of these last few weeks of summer vacation. Don’t forget to comment below or on our social media pages and share how these ideas turn out for your family. Have fun, stay safe, and happy exploring!

 
Arianna Allen, a CCA class of 2019 alumnus, currently attends Broward College and plans on transferring to the University of Florida upon earning her Associate in Arts degree to pursue her dream of becoming a sports broadcaster. Arianna has always had a deep passion for athletics and writing. She is the official intern of the Broward County Athletic Association as well as the online and podcast editor for Broward College’s student newspaper (The Observer). In her free time, she enjoys painting, journaling, and making memories with her friends and family.
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