COVID-19 has caused disruptions to normal life as we know it across the city, and summer activities are no exception. Things will look different for summer 2020, but there will still be plenty of ways to keep kids and families busy, engaged, safe, and healthy. 

Health and safety always come first, now more than ever. We will update this post frequently as plans are confirmed and we receive new guidance from health authorities.

Free food and meal sites for families 

The City and its partners are paying particular attention to food access during COVID-19 and throughout the summer. There are hundreds of locations offering free, nutritious food and meals across the city. 

City-supported food and meal pick-up sites will continue operating throughout the summer offering free food boxes and senior meals. Most School District of Philadelphia student-meal sites will continue operating throughout the summer. Find more information on hours, locations, and eligibility. 

In addition to the current food and meal sites, hundreds of new summer meal sites will open to serve free, nutritious meals to children and youth. These meal sites include Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Playstreets (see below), which began to open on June 15. 


Each summer, hundreds of small, one-way, residential streets throughout the City temporarily close to vehicle traffic to give children on the block a safe place to pick up a free, nutritious meal. The 50+-year-old Playstreets program is run by Parks & Rec. 

Recreational activities for youth at Playstreets will align with reopening guidance to prioritize health and safety.

310 Playstreets are now open, and run every weekday through the end of August.

Staying cool this summer

The City is actively working on ways to keep residents cool and safe this summer. Check back for updates on the City’s Summer Cooling Plan. 

Spraygrounds and pools

Parks & Recreation spraygrounds will open on a rolling basis starting July 6. Residents will have to stay at least six feet apart at all spraygrounds. Some spraygrounds will be staffed to support social distancing. Spraygrounds will have evening and weekend hours.

City-run public pools will not open this summer. Pools will be closed, but we know staying cool is a priority in the summer months. 

Help with summer energy bills

LIHEAP funding for electricity bills: the state’s new Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Recovery Crisis Program helps residents offset costs for home utilities ​including electricity. The maximum benefit is $800. Deadline: August 31st or until all funds are claimed.

This program is for: 

  • Households at risk of utility shut-offs ​or would face shut-off if not for current moratorium
  • Households that previously received a LIHEAP payment will receive additional payments ​but must take action to have funds directed to a different utility

Apply today for LIHEAP and other financial relief at


Playgrounds are open for children and their caregivers. Playground equipment may be reserved for Parks & Rec campers from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, starting July 6. Learn more about playground hours and what’s open at Parks & Rec sites.

Outdoor sports

Non-competitive outdoor youth sports are allowed during the green phase of re-opening. In July Parks & Rec will begin to reinstall the rims on our outdoor basketball courts, and to permit fields for youth sports leagues.

City summer programs for children and youth

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation summer camps

Parks & Recreation summer camps will open July 6 and end on August 14. Camps will follow health and safety modifications based on Department of Public Health guidance. Read more  here:

Swim for Life and city-wide theme camps will not operate this summer.

Other City-supported camps

The Office of Children and FamiliesOut-of-School Time (OST) summer programs will be virtual with some in-person components. The City is working with OST providers to help create in-person activities that will allow for safety, fun, and enrichment for children. 

Programming will focus on OST goals of literacy, career awareness, physical and social / emotional health. Online activities will include: read-aloud videos and literacy supports, virtual college and industry tours, dance and martial arts, and mindfulness / meditation practice.

Summer jobs for Youth and Young Adults

WorkReady provides paid summer jobs and work experience for Philadelphia youth 12-24 years old. This year, WorkReady is offering a paid digital experience to thousands of youth, with a focus on recruiting youth in the juvenile-justice system and Operation Pinpoint areas. 

WorkReady summer digital experiences will be in these categories:

  • Digital Career Exposure: learn about various career opportunities leading to the implementation of a career plan.
  • Financial Literacy: learn how money is earned, spent, and saved and how to use financial resources.
  • Digital Literacy and Brand Identity: learn how to use, share and contribute to information through digital technologies.

WorkReady applications have closed for this summer. Check back to learn about future youth employment opportunities at If you’ve started or submitted a WorkReady application, check your email for instructions on next steps and enrollment updates. Contact the WorkReady hotline with any questions: email or call (267) 502-3742.

WorkReady at Parks & Recreation and SLIP positions have been filled for 2020. Check back to learn about future youth employment opportunities at

Free Library of Philadelphia’s Summer of Wonder

Each year, the Summer of Wonder program encourages students to keep reading and help prevent summer learning loss. This year the program is running virtually from June 1 to August 31

Children, teens, and adults can go online to earn points and badges for Summer of Wonder program activities and time spent reading. Register for Summer of Wonder!

Summer of Wonder virtual programming will offer fun craft and maker activities, storytimes, book clubs, gaming, and STEM programs. The program will publish a new blog post every week with activity ideas, videos, and online program highlights from neighborhood libraries. You can also sign up for their newsletter to get weekly emails with activities, tips, and resources.

The Free Library will be partnering with local organizations to host pick-up spots for materials and activities later this summer. More information on pick-up locations to follow.

If you have questions about resources, book recommendations, or want to get reading support, you can now text a librarian: Send a text to 66746 with the keyword “askfree” followed by a space, then your question.

Science in the Summer and the Summer Camp Challenge will take place virtually this year.

School District of Philadelphia Summer Academic Programming

The School District of Philadelphia will offer summer programs for students, to prevent learning loss and build on the skills that students developed during the academic year. 

Offerings include ELL instruction, credit recovery, summer bridge programs for rising 9th grade students, college and career readiness, and more. 

Community Safety

Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) will continue to support grassroots anti-violence efforts during the summer months through Targeted Community Investment Grants – focused on promoting education and mentorship, addressing health and wellness, sustaining safe neighborhoods, and providing job-related skill-building.  

Community Crisis Intervention Program (CCIP) teams will continue working in communities – assisting those in need with alternatives to violence and providing connections to services and supports. Stay tuned for more summer-safety updates from the Office of Violence Prevention.