Keep the Boredom at Bay

Fun Summer Activities for the Whole Family

By Sandra Bolan

Pandemic. Social distancing. Flattening the curve. Respirator. Ventilator. Coronavirus. Quarantine. Shelter-in-place. Contact tracing.

These are just some of the words and phrases COVID-19 has added to our everyday language.

Now, you can include virtual tourism. You get to jet-set around the world while avoiding the long lines, expensive tickets and crowds.

National Parks

The National Park Service offers a multitude of virtual tours. A few of the more unique sites you can visit include New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyon and Dry Tortugas National Park. 

The virtual tour of Carlsbad Caverns takes you on a walk through the caverns where you can see the unique rock formations as well as thousands of bats. You can also “experience” life as a bat.

Bryce Canyon is famous for its red and orange hoodoos. Via the virtual tour you can get up close to them while on horseback.

Seventy miles west of Key West is the Dry Tortugas National Park. With this virtual tour you can swim through the world’s third largest coral reef and dive into a shipwreck from the early 1900s.

Find these tours at

Once you’ve toured a national park, check into the Monterey Bay Aquarium live streams at and the Cincinnati Zoo live streams on Facebook

Washington’s Smithsonian Institution, which is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, has many of its exhibitions available for virtual tours online. Some of the shows you can see include Superheroes, My Computing Devices and The Wright Brothers: The Invention of the Aerial Age. Find these tours at

Google Arts and Culture ( takes you inside sporting sites, palaces and museums from around the world. You can also find out what your superpower is or view the history of Hollywood. The possibilities are endless. The best part is the whole family can each pick a place they want to travel to, and it won’t cost thousands of dollars in airfare.

Close to Home

While Georgia’s parks have re-opened, they are congested with everyone wanting to get outside the confines of their neighborhood to soak up some fresh air. But you can safely tour them at

Museums and other historical sites are also still closed, but they are online, including The Rock Ranch, Atlanta Zoo’s Panda cam and Savannah’s Forsyth Park.

Take a virtual train ride at Villa Rica’s Pine Mountain Gold Museum. Visit their Facebook page


Some local libraries are offering curbside pickup. They are also offering eBooks, eAudio and eMagazines from their website, which will help you find the library closest to you. You just need a library card.

Pick a book, either via download or hard copy, the whole family can read together. Then every night, each family member takes a turn reading from that book. Some books to consider are: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Ronia The Robber’s Daughter; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon; All of a Kind Family; The Secret Garden and The Cricket in Times Square. Your library and online booksellers will also have suggestions.

Making the characters of a book come to life can be challenging. So why not listen to other people read … or rap your favorite books? Wes Tank takes Dr. Seuss books to a whole new level with his rap videos of Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Sox, Hop on Pop and many others.

Josh Gad, the voice of Frozen’s Olaf, broadcasts readings on Twitter Children’s book author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen has recordings of his books on Instagram live

You can also listen to Storytime from Space at or hear pirates spin their tales at

Get Outdoors

Go for a day hike and picnic at a local or state park. Be warned – other families are doing the same thing, so social distancing might be a challenge.

If you want to explore farther afield, check out the free App AllTrails. It rates trails based on difficulty and provides information on some of the wildlife and unique sites you might see along the way.

You also don’t need to leave home to have a picnic. You can set one up right in your own backyard.

Backyard camping is also another great way to get children used to being and sleeping outdoors – for when you decide to make a campground your vacation destination.

Backyard camping is a great way to get children used to being and sleeping outdoors.

Go Back in Time

When I was a kid, many, many, many years ago, on Saturday nights during the summer, the whole family would pile into the car and head to the 401 Drive-In. We saw some of the best movies while sitting on the roof of our car – Indiana Jones, Jaws, On Golden Pond as well as Smokey and The Bandit, to name a few.

As an adult, my husband and I once lived near one of the province’s last drive-ins, which holds dusk-to-dawn showings on long weekends.

Around here, there is Atlanta’s Starlight Drive-In, but Carrollton now has its very own – Freedom Drive-In on Bankhead Highway. The drive-in is scheduled to open soon.

Once again, back in the day when we only had three TV channels and a rotary phone that was a land line and no concept of the Internet, we had family game nights. We played card games like Uno, Old Maid and Rummy, as well as board games such as Monopoly, Sorry and Life. We would even break out charades every once in awhile or do a giant puzzle together. Lego® sets are also great fun to build together as a family.

Get Crafty

There are many online tutorials for most any type of craft or art project you may be thinking of creating together. Set aside a specific day and time for everyone to work on their project – even if you are all doing separate things, you’re still spending time together and pitching in when needed.

For super simple projects, make macaroni jewelry – just paint the uncooked pasta, thread it and wear it as a necklace or bracelet.

If you prefer something with a little more detail, Carrollton’s Brushstrokes Mobile Art Studio offers DIY pottery kits via front porch pick up.

Each kit includes everything you’ll need to paint a ceramic figurine or bank: one ceramic figurine, bank or ornament; six acrylic paint colors (in separate paint pots) and one paint brush. Kits range in price from $10 to $20.

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