2020 Summer Bucket List :: Social Distancing Style


Summer plans are definitely looking different this year. While places are starting to open back up slowly, depending on your comfort level, you may or may not want your family to venture out too far. So, to keep you occupied and the days fun, here is a list of 20 socially distanced summer activities to cross off your bucket list.

1. Visit Riverbanks Zoo (IRL or virtually)

Riverbanks Zoo currently requires timed tickets that you reserve in advance for entry. The zoo is staggering arrival times by the half hour and limited tickets are available to promote social distancing.

Face masks are encouraged for visitors, but not required. Zoo staff are required to wear masks in the park. The zoo has also installed additional hand washing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers.

At this time, certain exhibits and dining areas are closed off to the public. Zoo animals seem to miss human interaction as well, as they are out and about more. You can also visit the Botanic Gardens and Waterfall Junction. Check HERE for a list of their current social distance restrictions. 

Riverbanks is also continuing to do online learning as well. Join them each week live at 10 a.m. EST on their Riverbanks Facebook page or catch a recorded segment on the Riverbanks homepage and discover new ways to Zoo and Garden. 

2. Take a Trip

As things are starting to open back up, take a socially distanced trip to the beach or somewhere local where you can drive. Or take a hike at a local park to enjoy nature away from others. Check out new breweries and restaurants that have outdoor patios and seating.

3. Try a Cooking Class

During quarantine, I’ve been watching a lot of The Kitchen on Food Network channel. I’ve made my share of banana bread (with plenty still in the freezer). The kids have asked to cook more too.

There are lots of resources to take a cooking class (some are even free!). Delish has a live Instagram every week at 1 p.m. EST with cook-along videos for you and your little ones. The videos are also saved on their IGTV in case that time doesn’t work for you. 

4. Watch a Movie With Your Friends and Family 

Check out a new movie in an old way. Drive-ins are a great way to socially distance! The Big Mo in Monetta offers double features every weekend March through November. Movie sound comes through your car radio. The first feature on each screen starts at about dark. New FAQs regarding their policies can be found on their website. 

Or, stay at home and watch movies with friends through Netflix Party. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows.

5. Do an Art Project 

Mo Willems, author of Knuffle Bunny shared his knowledge of doodles and illustrations in  LUNCHDOODLES. You can find the entire series here.

You can also get DIY-to-Go kits from AR Workshop for adults and kids. They also have kids’ Summer ARt kits available online that you can pick up at your local workshop’s doorstep and craft at home! Shipment to your doorstep is also available at participating locations. This ARt Box subscription gives you three projects over the months of June, July and August. All materials and instructions included and are easy and fun for kids seven and older.

6. Learn a New TikTok Dance 

It seems like my tweens are all over TikTok these days learning new dances. I think one of their optional end of the year arts assignments for school was a TikTok video. For fun, they will teach me a dance or two and we will make a video. Even if you don’t post it, it’s something fun to do and laugh with them about! 

7. Cool Down 

How about a Frozen Two party (if you’ve seen it so many times as I have) where you sing-along to the songs? Need another way to cool down? Try making your own ice cream at home. Here’s an easy ice cream recipe. 

8. Pick Some Fruit

Another outdoor, socially distanced activity is going to your local farm and picking fruit. There are several strawberry picking places around Columbia, as well as blueberries and more! Just be sure to check before going to ensure there is still stock. 

9. Have a Picnic

Pack your favorite foods and enjoy a picnic. Whether it’s around town, in your backyard or even indoors at your house, the kids always seem to love a good floor picnic. The latest trends are fun charcuterie boards where you can add various cheeses and meats for a traditional board, or change it up with various desserts and sweet snacks to enjoy after dinner. 

10. Go Camping

Take the picnic one step further and have a night out camping. Mix up the usual scenery that night and sleep in a tent in your backyard or at a local open campground. All South Carolina State parks are currently open, practicing social distancing measures, and most of them offer fantastic campgrounds. Be sure to check out our articles 8 Tips for Camping Small Children – and Actually Enjoying it as well as The Must Read Survival Guide for Camping With an Infant before heading out. 

11. Start a New Hobby

Now is a great time to start a new hobby! I’ve been taking scraps from vegetables like green onions and celery, and placing them in water to grow and eventually transfer to soil. I’ve also started my own mini-garden in the backyard, as I know many others have. 

If gardening isn’t your thing, then find something that is. I’ve had a lettering book that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while that I kept putting off because I didn’t have the time. Or, use that sewing machine that’s been sitting around and learn how to make masks to donate to various organizations in need. 

12. Start a Family Book Club

This one stems from a book club I was invited to by a friend where parents and kids read the same book and discuss it monthly. Whether it’s Harry Potter or more complex books to discuss harder topics with kids, it’s a great way to have these talks with your children and gives them a chance to ask questions. 

13. Host a Bake-off

One of my kids’ favorite shoes is Nailed It! So why not have a bake-off with your family and see who can best recreate a cake you found in a magazine? Or, just pick a category like cookies or brownies and have everyone use their creative skills to see who is the most creative or best decorator in your home. 

14. Re-Do a Room in Your House

A lot of people are taking their extra time at home to paint rooms in their house, re-decorate or feng shui their living space. Have the kids pick a new color for their room just to mix things up since we’ve been stuck at home a lot lately. 

15. Scrapbook to Remember Summer 2020

This will definitely be a summer to remember! You can find various COVID-19 worksheets and time capsule pages online where your kids can fill out various prompts about this unique time in our lives. Take magazines around the house and create some scrapbook pages to commemorate this time – the good and the bad. 

16. Move Your Body

Don’t forget to move this summer! Whether you take a walk around the neighborhood, run a virtual race, participate in a Zoom exercise class or just dance with your kids in your living room, make time to move your body!

17. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

This is an activity that can be done inside (on a rainy day) or outside, depending on the items listed on your scavenger hunt. This activity can also be modified to various age levels. Younger kids can participate in a scavenger hunt where they find something that begins with a certain letter. Older kids can participate in hunts where they have to solve riddles. 

18. Relax Around a Fire Pit 

Another easy fun family activity that you can do in your backyard this summer is to have an outdoor fire and make some s’mores. Mmmmm…

19. Do Something by a River

Take a kayak trip on one of our local rivers with Carolina Outdoor Adventures. All of the kayak trips focus on the history in and around the area. The staff will also point out any wildlife that you come across and features of the area. Per their website, “All our equipment in disinfected between uses and we practice social distancing as best we can in our activities.”

Another fun activity is to walk by the river. Check out the Columbia Riverwalk. As noted on their website, please follow outdoor recreation social distancing guidelines and trail etiquette. Be respectful of others, and call ahead if there’s uncertainty regarding the trail being open (contact information can be found on each trail page).

20. Pizza Night

Have a pizza night at home and make your own pizzas with the kids. Let everyone choose their toppings and make their own personalized pizza for a fun family night in.

Just a few items to cross off your bucket list this summer to keep the kids (and yourself) entertained. 

What’s on YOUR bucket list this summer?

Previous article2020 Guide to 4th of July Fireworks & Celebrations Around Columbia
Next articleA Father’s Love :: What It Really Means From a New Dad’s Perspective
Mee Jean is a divorced mom of three amazing kids: Alyssa, (11), Jacob (10) and Isaac (4). She moved to Columbia in 2002 after graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Once wondering how she could live in a small town, she now embraces it and loves her home in Northeast Columbia. She is a Marketing Proposal Manager at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and loves being involved in the community and making Columbia the best place for her kids to grow up in. As a current board member on the Leadership Columbia Advisory Board and a graduate of Leadership Columbia Class of 2017, she has learned so much about Columbia. Mee Jean loves going to local events and supporting businesses around the city. In her free time, she loves hanging out with her friends, reading, watching Georgia football, running races (whether it be 5ks or Spartans), taking pictures and making memories (lots of selfies and hashtags), shopping, relaxing with some wine by the pool and sleeping. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here