The global pandemic, COVID-19, has drastically changed life for most of us in a short space of time. Whether you’re furloughed, working from home, or working as usual, your summer activities are likely to be spent 1m+ away from anybody you don’t live with. However, if you’re shielding, it may have been tougher to see loved ones. If this is the case, we’ve compiled some extra things to do at home to keep you busy.
Having a completely free summer holiday means it’s time to get creative - check out our ideas on school holiday activities that you can do whilst following government advice in your area.
Spend your summer holiday helping others
You may want to spend your newfound spare time helping others. This may seem hard to do in lockdown with social distance measures in place, but there are lots of options available. The NHS is still recruiting volunteers to help collect medicines and call people in need, and numerous charities are advertising the need for helpers in many different sectors, virtually and in person.
Look on the internet or any local groups on social media to see if you can use your skills and resources to help those who need it.
If volunteering is something you’d like to continue when all restrictions are eased, why not think about helping out at the Army Cadet Force? When our detachments are up and running, we’re always looking for adult volunteers to help. You could be trained as an Officer or choose to work behind the scenes in admin. When the time is right, please get in touch with your nearest detachment to find out more.
Outdoor summer activities
The Great British sunshine has been gleaming recently, and we hope it will continue. The lovely weather is a great excuse to go outside, and whilst social distancing measures are in place, there are still a lot of options to leave your house whilst staying safe.
We encourage readers to only do the following activities if there are options near home.
Explore your local area
Whilst we’ve been allowed to go for a walk since the start of restrictions, we now have more freedom on how long and how many times we can leave the house to exercise. A great way to spend some time outside is by exploring your area on long walks, hikes, or bike rides.
Head to Google Maps to see if there any trails near you. Or, if you live in a city, map out a route of an area near you that you haven’t explored before. It can be very motivating to track your steps, time and calories, and apps such as Strava allow you to share and compare with friends.
Organise a small social gathering
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have different guidelines on how many people can meet outside, so it’s important to check what the restrictions are in your region. If you want to do something a little more exciting than a socially distanced walk, why not organise a small gathering?
If the weather allows, a responsible BBQ or picnic is a brilliant way to spend time with loved ones over some foodie treats. These could take place in a local park or large garden.
If you’re lucky enough to live close to the ocean, a lake or another stretch of water, some activity centres are now open and offering water-based activities (and more). Whether you’re a keen rower or love to paddle board or surf, check out your local businesses and see what’s on offer.
Please your body and mind
With gyms closing, many of us are heading online to make sure we’re getting our daily exercise done. Working out is a wise way to spend a couple of hours and the options are endless: thousands of workout videos on YouTube, home gym packages and personal trainers doing live streams on Instagram.
Get creative with home-made weights. A backpack full of water or wine bottles, jars or cans is a great way to add some weight onto a workout. A bucket (with a lid!) full of similar items makes a great kettlebell, whilst a pole with two full milk jugs makes a handy barbell.
Exercise is extremely important during this pandemic, for your mental health as well as physical. Learning how to be mindful is also a fantastic way to improve your mental health whilst in lockdown.
School holiday activities to do at home
If you’re isolating with others – whether it’s family, a partner or friends – there are plenty of fun summer activities you can do during isolation come rain or shine.
Come Dine with Me
Set aside a week (or consecutive weekends) and get ready for a homemade Come Dine with Me. Take turns to each cook up a three-course meal, and don’t forget about the entertainment - think cocktail making, karaoke, or even meditation!
Write down your rating of each evening and keep it a secret. When everybody has done their night, each send your ratings to an independent adjudicator (a friend or family member who didn’t take part) to find out the winner. The prize is up to you.
Similar to Come Dine with Me, another foodie activity you can do at the weekend is a big bake off. This can be done virtually too; participants will just have to rate the bakes on presentation. From banana bread to cheesecake, pavlova to banoffee pie, this is a chance to show off your baking skills and eat some yummy desserts along the way.
Same as before, send your ratings off to someone who isn’t involved and hope that you’ve done enough to win.
Isolation is a brilliant opportunity to get those creative juices flowing. Whether it’s spending more time doing the hobby you love or trying something new, all this free time at home means you can start a DIY project you’ve been putting off, learn an instrument or attempt a 1000 piece puzzle.
Relying on screens for entertainment isn’t necessary and doing something physical can improve your wellbeing too. There are so many fun things to do at home!
If you’re living alone during the pandemic, there are plenty of virtual activities for you to get stuck into. Gather your friends, family, or work team to get involved and spend an afternoon or evening taking part in some virtual activities.
At this point, you may by quizzed out as households all over the world seem to be taking part in virtual pub quizzes. For something different, real life landlords are organising quizzes for their locals (and beyond) so be sure to see if your local pub has anything planned.
Otherwise, get creative and create a round or two which will make participants smile. Take a trip down memory lane and ask players to send in baby photos of themselves and include a round where everybody must guess who’s who. Other personalised rounds include reciting funny memories and asking who was involved, or ‘whose chin is this?’ – a picture round of every player’s chin (or other body part).
The option to go to a live comedy gig unfortunately isn’t possible, so many comedy clubs around the UK are streaming live gigs right from the performer’s own home. Check out your favourite comedy clubs to see what they’re offering.
If all else fails, YouTube or catch up TV are great options, with hundreds of comedies available to watch as you please.
Opera and theatre
The famous Royal Opera House in Central London is streaming a show every Friday for the foreseeable future. If you’re missing spending your spare time watching shows like this, then this could be a good alternative.
Likewise, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s team are also releasing a full-length musical every Friday that will be available for 24-hours. Perfect for that theatre fix.