Summer’s officially here, and although the sun might be out, most people probably aren’t. Unfortunately, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and subsequent series of quarantines have thrown summer plans into disarray, closed restaurants, bars, and beaches across the country, and canceled events worldwide.
Just because you’re stuck inside, though, that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to enjoy the summer from the comfort of your home. Here are nine of our best ideas for having summer fun right in your own backyard.
Tour the world from your couch
Summer vacation plans are still a no-go for most people, but fortunately, some of the world’s best attractions are now just a click away. Check out this list from Good Housekeeping of international museums, aquariums, zoos, and parks now offering virtual tours, from the Louvre in Paris to live camera streams of your favorite animals from the San Diego Zoo. Google even lets you explore some of America’s top national parks from home.
Binge watch a new show
With movie theaters closed nationwide and all of Hollywood’s summer blockbusters on hold, there’s no better time to turn to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+ to find a new TV show to binge watch. Netflix actually offers a Chrome extension called Netflix Party that lets you have remote movie nights with friends and family. Discussing each episode with your loved ones can be a great way to feel connected even in the middle of isolation.
Stream digital events
Performers are also stuck in quarantine and just as eager to reach new (or long-time) fans. You can find streaming links to live concerts through your favorite artists’ social media pages, or through weekly round-ups diligently collected by sites like Billboard.com. This might also be the perfect time to check out a new genre of music: did you know the Metropolitan Opera is running nightly opera streams online?
How about “summer” cleaning?
We’ve all heard about spring cleaning, but quarantine offers a great opportunity to tidy up around the house, especially if you’ve been putting it off. Besides, looking at a well-cleaned and well-organized house can be a huge positive when it comes to reducing stress and helping your mental health.
Dive into a good book
A “beach read” doesn’t have to be read on the beach, and quarantine could be an excellent time to catch up on your steadily growing “to-read” lists. You might be physically at home, but your imagination can wander far away. Download some e-books or pick up an old favorite paperback and find a shady spot in the backyard to enjoy a quiet day of reading.
Put time into your garden
If you have a backyard and some gardening tools, there’s no end to the entertainment you can find while catching some extra Vitamin D. Order seeds online for new and colorful flowers, cut the grass, pull up some weeds, build a rock garden…the possibilities are endless. With many people reducing their trips to grocery stores, it might be an especially good time to try growing fresh herbs and other produce of your own. Also, protect yourself from harmful sun rays by wearing a stylish UV protection sun hat.
Camp out for a night
If gardening itself isn’t your thing, how about turning your backyard into a campsite? With a personal camping tent and a comfortable outdoors sleeping mat, you can sleep out under the stars in no time. Not to mention, you’ll still have access to a real bathroom inside—one major plus compared to regular camping! Add some trail mix and s’mores over the grill and you’ll be all set for a mini adventure in the great outdoors.
A crafting or DIY session at home can be just as relaxing as a day at the beach (bonus: with less sunburn). Whether it’s knitting a new pair of socks, sewing some colorful face masks to wear during your next grocery run, or finally putting up those bedroom shelves, there’s no shortage of “do-it-yourself” projects to keep you occupied in quarantine. Plus, you can find YouTube videos and guides for pretty much any new DIY skill you want to try.
Take to the kitchen
Give yourself a taste of summer without stepping out the front door! Just because you can’t go to a baseball game doesn’t mean you can’t grill up some tasty hot dogs and burgers in your own kitchen or backyard. Make your cooking and baking easier, using a non-stick grill mat. Now that you’re eating at home all the time, it’s also the perfect chance to learn some new recipes or kitchen skills. You can even use an ice cream machine to make your own ice cream—the essential summer treat.
All in all, don’t let the coronavirus or quarantine steal away your enjoyment of the sunniest season in the year. And if you’d like inspiration for summer activities that can be done at home, check out our summer products to spark some ideas.