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How to Keep Kids Connected to Friends While Staying Safe

childs hand with crayons and coloring social distance activity

A socially distanced summer doesn’t have to be lonely, and your kids don’t have to stay glued to screens to stay in touch with their friends. With a little creativity and a few art supplies, your kids can have fun, connect with their besties, and brighten the days of all their friends.

Here are five easy, inexpensive activities you can do with your kids this month. Many encourage you to strap on your mask and get out for a walk or a drive, which can help add a sense of excitement and adventure after months of being locked down at home due to COVID-19.

1. A Good Old-Fashioned Chain Letter

Chain letters may carry some crazy connotations for those of us who grew up in the 80s, but their basic concept is both simple and innocent. Someone starts a letter and mails it (or drops it off at) the house of a friend.

The friend adds a bit of artwork, or a message, and then passes it on, like a long relay that only grows more fun as the letter grows.

You can send it with US Mail or you can walk it or drive it over to the next-closest friend. Whatever makes sense for you and your family.

Get creative! Nothing says the chain letter message can’t get a little 3D. Add some glitter, or forge an actual tiny construction paper chain to dangle off the side of it. The important thing is to have fun both reading and contributing.

2. Cards for Classmates

If you’re willing to spring for more stamps or know everyone lives close enough for a walk-by mailbox delivery, then kids can make cards for all their friends and classmates. Think “summer Valentines,” without all the pink.

If you’re not going to mail them, and you’re feeling a little fancy, you could even make small goodie bags. Include tiny favors like stickers, pencils, and erasers, wrap them in nice paper and add a bit of ribbon. It’ll be a summer surprise sure to leave a smile on every face.

3. Sidewalk Chalk Messages

sidewalk chalk messages for friendsIf you want to encourage your kids to get out and get walking, then this can be a fun low-investment idea that still brings a lot of cheer. Grab some sidewalk chalk, then visit friends’ houses one by one. Leave a quick message in the driveway or on the sidewalk.

Get together with other parents so they can encourage their kids to do the same. Seeing the list of messages grow can be exciting and a lot of fun for kids.

One caveat: if you live close to all your child’s classmates it may be a nice idea to visit every classmate you can find, not just every friend within your child’s circle. If everyone lives close together less-popular children may see messages and grow upset when they don’t get any. By being conscientious about this, your child can work to make everyone feel included.

4. Rainbow Windows

rainbow and hope painted on windowsGrab some window paint and paint a bold, beautiful rainbow (or anything else your child wants to paint). Include an encouraging message for friends, the neighbors, essential workers, or anyone else your child wants to give a shout-out to.

Coordinate with other neighbors to fill the neighborhood with them, then go for a walk to see all the fun messages. It will be a little like the tradition of going around the neighborhood to see the holiday lights, minus the holiday (and the lights).

Be sure to get washable window markers or paint for this project so you can safely remove the message later.rainbow and clouds painted on windows

5. Stuffed Animal Safari

This idea is better for younger children. Coordinate with your child’s friends. Get as many of them as possible in on putting stuffed animals in their window. Make a checklist of each friend’s house and then take a walk to find each animal. Match the animal to who it belongs to.

You might even have your child make a small blue ribbon to mail or deliver to the home of the kid who successfully found the most animals.

Stay creative and optimistic!

stuffed animal bunny outsideThis summer doesn’t have to be a drag. With a little work, you can make it one of the most memorable your child has ever had. Don’t forget to schedule in other fun arts and crafts activities for you and your children, like this one for Father’s Day! They may appreciate the extra time with you, and with a little luck, they’ll be a little less bored (and distracting when you finally have to sit down for that conference call).

Don’t forget, Paper Plus has all of your arts and crafts supplies, and we’ve modified our store to remain as safe as possible for social distancing due to COVID-19.

You can even walk up and pick up your order at the curb if you don’t want to come inside. We’re all in this together!

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