Inexpensive, Socially Distant Evening Activities for Safe Family Fun

Picture of water balloons in a tub
​Playing water games on hot summer days is one way to beat the heat and the isolation that accompanies a COVID-19 summer. UT Extension offers this list of activities and ideas for families seeking inexpensive fun for summer evenings. 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – COVID-19 continues to disrupt our lives. From diminished work hours and income to summer camps that are socially distant, 2020 has brought immense changes. As summer days arrive bringing extra daylight hours in the evenings, many families are looking for activities that are fun, inexpensive and adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

“Summer nights mean longer daytime hours, and traditionally family time has included trips to theme parks, visiting friends or family, or even week long vacations,” comments Christopher T. Sneed, University of Tennessee Extension consumer economics specialist. “With the disruptions caused by COVID-19, some families are struggling to make ends meet and looking for inexpensive options for some family fun.”

Sneed suggests considering these options for nighttime entertainment as a family this summer:

- Going for a walk in your neighborhod
- Exploring a nearby park and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from people not in your household
- Having a family game night, with board games, card games or outdoor games like hide and seek or tag
- Writing letters to family an dfriends you have not been able to se or visit
- Cooking dinner together as a family or baking a dessert for neighbors
- Completing a scavenger hunt at home or in the neighborhood
- Playing charades, Pictionary or other games that use imaginations
- Playing water games on warm sunny days, with water balloons, water guns or other discount toys 


​Another option for family time is to plant and tend a garden together, says the expert. Not only will this help fill summer evenings, but the produce a garden yields can be healthy for the family budget and provide nutritious options at mealtime.


“Lots of online retailers have also offered free content in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds the expert. “Taking advantage of some of these offers can help break up the monotony of staying home and isolating during summer months.” Sneed suggests looking for virtual tours of zoos, aquariums or museums first, as these options can provide supplemental education to children.


For other ideas for family activities, visit the UT Extension website or contact your local county Extension office.


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Christopher T. Sneed, consumer economics specialist, Department of Family and Consumers Sciences,, 865-974-8198