How To Have A ’90s-Inspired ‘Stuck At Home’ Summer With Your Kids

Okay, it’s summer and we are stuck at home. Yes it kind of sucks, but it doesn’t have to all-the-way suck. I don’t know about you, but not having to run around all over the place and have a house full of kids doesn’t exactly leave me crying in the corner.

I don’t have to wake my kids for summer camp. They aren’t asking me every ten seconds if someone can come over. They don’t need rides anywhere because we aren’t going. And, the best part is my teenagers are forced to have some Mama time.

I’d also like to add that if there’s one thing I took from growing up in the ‘90s, it’s this: I know how to party without going anywhere. That’s right. If you grew up in the ‘90s, you didn’t have the virtual world feeding you FOMO every second, you probably had both parents working, you were literally stuck at home, and you weren’t in full-schedule mode in the summer.

All of this meant we had to create our own summertime fun. And these memories are our ticket to having a good summer because all we have to do is go back to those carefree days and hit the replay button so our own families can get a taste.

1.Watch Supermarket Sweep

Hello, this was the best show ever and it’s streaming on Netflix right now. What are you waiting for? And speaking of good shows that take us back, guess what else we can do?

2.Watch Saved By The Bell

Also streaming on Netflix. If you didn’t know, I know you are sending me one-thousand thank yous. You are welcome.

Who cares if the rest of your family says professional Roofing Calgary they don’t like your ‘90s shows? Remember, you are the boss and you get to do what you want. I’ve always thought a little bit of sweet nostalgia could cure so many things.

3. Read Baby-Sitters Club books in a pillow fort.

My sisters and I used to do this all the time. Especially at night. Then, we’d read by flashlight. It’s time to get out the sheets and pillows, kids, and I won’t even make you take the fort down. We are going to be here a while. This is especially pertinent right now since the new Baby-Sitters Club series is — you guessed it! — on Netflix.

4. Eat cheap popsicles in front of a fan.

You know, the kind that makes the corners of your mouth hurt as you try to suck the last little bit of juice out of the plastic? Raise your hand if you have some in your freezer right now? And just the sound of the fan blowing reminds me of sitting on the linoleum floor in the kitchen trying to cool off on a hot day.

I didn’t stop at the popsicles though. I went full ‘90s-diet and got Carnation Instant Breakfast Shakes, Cool Ranch Doritos, and Ramen. It’s time to get serious. But don’t stop there either — did you know that Dunkaroos are back?! Be still, my ’90s-loving heart.

5. Send songs to each other.

Remember making mixtapes? We may not have to sit by the tape deck waiting for the radio deejay to play our jams any more (um, thank goodness), but now it’s easier than ever to make a playlist and share with our besties — and show our kids how to do the same.

6. Go for walks.

We used to walk for miles when we were younger. We wanted to see our friends and our parents were cool with us walking to the store. If you live in a more rural area, you have the luxury of going for a nice family walk. Stop and pick wild flowers, berries, and look at the birds. It’s a great way to bond with the family.

7. Have a movie night at home.

Get the popcorn, soda, and candy, and get comfy. Watch a ’90s classic like Titanic, Clueless, or Dumb and Dumber.

8. Play in the hose.

It’s hot and the kids are missing the beaches and pools. Playing in the hose or making your own Slip-n-Slide with garbage bags and dish soap, might just save the day. We just got a kiddie pool for each of us (I have three teenagers) to hang out in so we can stay comfortable and get some vitamin D.

9. Get your craft on.

Do you remember making friendship pins for your sneakers, beads, and safety pins? What about shell necklaces, and those friendship bracelets made out of string? I used to spend hours doing that in my room when I was younger and it was a great boredom-buster. Color those velvet posters (with scented markers, naturally!) or paint-by-numbers, doodle mesmerizing designs with a Spirograph, decorate a cheap T-shirt with puffy paints — or get out the scissors and glue sticks and create a collage from #10 on our list …

10. Look at magazines.

Little Girl On Family Vacation In 1992 Jena Ardell/Getty
Little Girl On Family Vacation In 1992 Jena Ardell/Getty

Lately, every time I go to the grocery store, I grab a magazine. I haven’t done this in decades — it used to be my only form of inspiration before HGTV and The Cooking Channel occupied my screen at every waking moment. I didn’t realize how much I loved saving some time to flip through magazines after crawling into bed or on my lunch break. Bonus points if you read it outside … but skip slathering yourself in baby oil and Sun-In and slather yourself in sunscreen instead, mmkay?

11. Make ice cream.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) go out for ice cream, why not make it at home? Growing up, my parents always did this because taking four kids out for ice cream on one salary was a luxury we could rarely afford. Here is a great recipe that doesn’t involve an ice cream machine that’s easy and fun for the entire family. My mom used to use this method when we were younger and it came out so good every time.

Yes, this isn’t ideal, but we all know we need to find a new normal. We can miss our regular lives so much we can’t get out of our own way and end up having a miserable summer, or we can do a throwback to the ‘90s with some of these ideas … and show these kids how we entertained ourselves when screen time wasn’t even an option. 

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