Did you know that August is Family Fun Month? Every year, families take this time to celebrate the joy of being together and enjoying the last hoorah of summer. In a normal year, Family Fun Month includes big barbecues, pool parties and other special events. In the time of COVID-19, though, “family fun” might look a little different.
“Since COVID-19 is still very much a presence in society and we’re being cautioned to continue social distancing, Family Fun Month might seem like it should be put on hold,” says Angel Van Horn, Community Relations Specialist at Park Manor, the most trusted retirement community in Nashville, TN. “Actually, these days we need Family Fun Month more than ever. We’re all realizing how much our friends and loved ones mean to us, and even though we may have to stand six feet apart, that connection is still very much wanted.”
Thanks to technology, there are so many ways to connect virtually (and even in-person) that doing activities together with loved ones is surprisingly easy. “All you need is an Internet connection, a computer or smartphone or tablet, and you’re instantly able to spend time with the people who mean most to you,” Angel says.
So, keeping the spirit of social distancing in mind, here are six activities that families can still do together.
Start a book club.
You may already be a part of a book club, but there’s always time for one more. This is a particularly fun activity to do across generations – grandparents and grandchildren, or younger kids and their parents. Choose a book that you know both parties will enjoy (for example, a classic like The Secret Garden or Harry Potter is perfect), and schedule regular, weekly chats over Zoom or Skype to discuss what you’ve read in the past week. You can either free-form the discussion, or you can download a list of questions to ask the other person during your call.
An alternative to a book club is choosing a book to read out loud together. This has long been a favorite nighttime ritual for many families – now, you can just add a little bit of technology to make it 21st-century ready. Choose a regular time, the perfect book and bingo – it’s a great bonding time for kids and adults of all ages.
Set up virtual coffee dates or happy hours.
Getting together with friends over a delicious beverage is a fun activity that spurs conversation and is simply relaxing. If you aren’t up for meeting at Panera Bread or your local eatery, make your own beverage, schedule a time and use a video chatting service to spend an enjoyable time with your best friends. Zoom is a great tool for this, as you can invite as many people as you’d like to the hangout (plus, it’s easy to use). Make it a regular date, and you’ll always have something you can look forward to.
Get some fresh air.
Summer weather is perfect for activities like bike riding, walking, hiking or simply sitting on the porch. And being outside makes it easy as pie to stay the recommended six feet apart. Meet up with friends or family in your local park (or even on your driveway), grab a lawn chair (or bike, or whatever you’d like to do) and spend some time together. Virtual face-to-faces are great, but there’s no substitute for actually being in the same location as the person you care about.
Online exercise classes are becoming more and more popular these days as fitness gurus and instructors offer online “classes” in real time. Just go online and search for what might be available and interesting for you and your loved ones. You can do an official online class, or you can find an exercise video that you can play during a Zoom call while you and a friend work out “together.”
Become pen pals.
The art of handwritten notes is making a resurgence thanks to the pandemic. There is something very special about finding a letter or a card in your mailbox, and now is the perfect time to introduce that joy to the younger members of your family. Send a letter to your family members on a regular basis, detailing your day, your dreams, your hopes – whatever it is you’d like. Be sure to ask questions in your note that they can respond to. The nice thing about sending “snail mail” is that you can include little surprises alongside your letter. For example, if you’re writing about your garden, you can send along dried flowers or a special rock you found. Encourage your pen pal to respond in kind, and you may discover you’ve just started a new family tradition.
Learn a new skill or craft.
Is there a hobby you’ve always wanted to try, like oil painting or knitting? Or, conversely, is there a craft or skill that you know and would like to pass on to younger generations (or older – there’s no reason why Grandma or Grandpa can’t learn to code or do magic tricks). Set up a regular time for you and your loved ones to learn together, whether that’s watching an episode of Bob Ross and painting happy little trees or showing your grandchild how to sew on a button.
An alternate version of this is to cook or bake something together. Channel your inner chef and schedule a weekly cooking class where you and a loved one make the same dish or dessert together. Afterwards, you can have a nice chat while you enjoy what you’ve made. It’s a great way to do something “together” even when you can’t be together.
As always, says Angel, the most important thing isn’t what you do … it’s that you’re doing it together. “Connection is more important than ever these days,” she says. “As long as you’re having fun with the people you love, you’re doing Family Fun Month right!”
If you have more questions about how to celebrate this year’s Family Fun Month, please contact us at 615.997.3030.
Love Where You Live!
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Do I love where I live?” If you ask that question of the residents of Park Manor, Nashville’s premier retirement community, the answer would be a resounding, “Yes!” For over 50 years, Park Manor has served Nashville’s seniors by providing a community designed to support an active, independent, secure, healthy and worry-free lifestyle. Located on seven spacious acres in the desirable Nashville neighborhood of Belle Meade, we’re proud to provide a lifestyle our residents love each and every day.
Park Manor’s approach to senior living is simple: exceed our residents’ expectations. We strive to provide everything you could possibly need and want to live your life the way you choose. At Park Manor, you will enjoy a standard of living reminiscent of a luxury resort – but it’s not a vacation – it’s your lifestyle! This commitment is why we are held in such high regard by our surrounding community and are known as the premier retirement community offering independent living and assisted living lifestyles.
For seniors requiring memory care, Park Manor is associated with the prestigious Abe’s Garden® Memory Care Center of Excellence. Abe’s Garden® is committed to transforming the care of those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by establishing a national model of residential living and day care programs for those suffering from the disease. Abe’s Garden® provides an unprecedented level of care in addition to a comprehensive array of services and lifestyle options.
At Park Manor, your continued independence is our top priority. Enjoy living life as you choose … in the comfort and privacy of your own apartment while having the peace of mind of knowing help is available if and when you need it.
For more information, please call 615.997.3030.