The COVID-19 pandemic has left many families feeling like they missed out on their normal summer fun. Between canceled vacations and limited visits to pools and amusement parks, it may be easier to say goodbye to the odd summer of 2020 and hello to a new school year—whatever that may mean for you.

But don’t wish away the season too soon. It’s still August and there’s plenty of time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. While it may require more creativity than past years, these four fun end-of-summer activities for families will prove that even a summer filled with uncertainty can also produce happy memories.

Plan a Campout

Who needs woods in the middle of nowhere to camp? Your backyard (or basement) will do the trick. Grab a tent, some sleeping bags, and a flashlight and let the nighttime fun begin. Start by having your kids make a list of everything they want to do during their campout. Decide where you’ll set up camp and grab hot dogs and ingredients for s’mores. While you’re at it play some old-school nighttime games like Kick the Can and Capture the Flag. Grab a mason jar and run around your yard chasing lightning bugs.

And if you’re in the city or live in a home without a yard, set up camp in the middle of your living room. Use a grill pan on your stove for the hot dogs and roast marshmallows in your fireplace. Opt for spooky stories and an indoor game like hide and seek. There’s nothing like a luxury campsite—sans bugs!

Challenge your family to make your campsite a device-free zone for the evening. Do your best to be completely present and focus on having fun and being adventurous. While your kids will have a blast, you’ll be taken back to the days of worry-free summer nights and a much-needed reprieve from current events.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

The pandemic may keep you from dinner in the city but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore your area in a new way. Busy schedules often keep families from having time to check out what’s happening right around the corner. Take time to create a half-day scavenger hunt. Use your community’s website to identify unique attractions near home and build your route. Is there a famous monument you’ve always wanted to learn more about that’s only 15 minutes from your house? Add it to the list. Does your park have a special type of flower that’s unique to your area? Put a clue on your scavenger hunt that will take you right there.

As you’re planning, think about the interests of your kid(s). If your son loves sports, add a clue that takes you to a football field. Have him score a touchdown before you can move on to the next clue. As you do your own version of The Amazing Race, your family will likely spend all morning wondering why it took you so long to investigate and cool things your hometown has to offer.

Make Cards For Seniors

While COVID-19 has been hard for everyone, many senior citizens have endured fear and loneliness for months. Some are stuck in their homes with limited visitors, with no end in sight.

And as kids get back to school and focus their efforts on learning in new environments, not much changes for the elderly.

Take some time before summer ends to make cards for a local senior center or nursing home. Encourage your kids to get creative and colorful. If you need some inspiration, Crayola and Communicate in Color both have free coloring pages to print. If creativity isn’t you or your child’s forte, write letters.

Most organizations will allow you to hand-deliver cards and letters to the front door and they’ll take it from there. Add a small note with your address and many seniors will write your kids a thank you note. Since kids love getting mail, too, this activity will bring smiles all around.

Start a Family Bucket List

If you feel like you missed out on what could have been this summer, create a bucket list of family activities you want to do next summer. This will help your kids get through the worries of school starting and remain excited about the future. Continue adding to the list throughout the year and refer back to it often, reminding everyone that better times are ahead. Include big and little activities and celebrate each time you’re able to check one off the list.

As summer comes to a close, use the final few weeks to enjoy time with your family. Soon enough homework and early bedtimes will be the norm. Focus on all the good the end of summer can bring even during a global pandemic.

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