Fun and Safe Outdoor Activities to Try With Your Kids This Summer
Undoubtedly, the coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed how we work, learn, and socialize. Not only are many parents now furloughed or trying to work from home, but their children have been unable to go to school or take advantage of childcare programs for the past few months. And even as many states have begun the reopening process, families may be understandably wary about allowing their children to play with others or to enroll them in any kind of summer camp program.
But just because organized events with others are largely out of the question this summer, that doesn’t mean your kiddos need to sulk in front of the TV. There are plenty of outdoor activities you and your kids can safely enjoy this season — without having to put yourselves at risk or sacrifice on fun.
Gardening can be a great way for kids of all ages to continue learning during the summer months and get some exercise at the same time. It’s also becoming a more popular option during the pandemic, as many families are putting their own twist on “victory gardens” in order to provide their own food source. Whether you decide to stick with flowers or you branch out into veggies, gardening can teach your kids responsibility and give them a sense of pride when they see the fruits of their labor. Not only that, but this is a joint-friendly activity if you’re suffering from OA as a result of several factors, including injury or overuse. Gardening is fun and accessible for the whole family.
For many of us, fishing is a treasured pastime. In 2017, there were 11.6 million youth fishing participants (aged six to 17) throughout the United States. While it’s not a good idea to visit a notoriously crowded fishing location right now, you can still partake in this activity if you maintain social distancing measures. Be sure to bring along masks, hand sanitizer, and fishing gear to avoid sharing with others. If you have access to a relatively quiet creek or can visit a lake during a time that isn’t so busy (like a weekday morning), all the better.
Obstacle Courses or Backyard Sports
Sporting leagues may be canceled for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t partake in any form of athletics. You could create a backyard obstacle course, play capture the flag with gel bead gun, set up a volleyball net, get a basketball hoop for the driveway, or design a makeshift field for baseball and kickball. Although shaved baseball bats generally shouldn’t be used in temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, most summer days offer perfect conditions for all kinds of sporting equipment. You won’t be able to form a team with the neighborhood kids, of course, but these activities can still keep your kids occupied — especially if you play as a family!
Camping and Picnics
Some public campgrounds may open up this summer, but maintaining health and safety in that kind of environment can be a challenge. Why not alleviate the risk altogether by camping out in your own backyard? You can pitch a small tent or spend the evening in sleeping bags under the stars. Be sure to make a fire and roast some marshmallows! If daytime backyard fun is more your style, put together a picnic lunch and bring a big blanket outside. There’s something that makes eating a sandwich that much more enjoyable when you’re surrounded by nature.
Sprinklers and Water Balloon Fights
Looking for a way to cool off this summer without a visit to the water park? Just turn on the hose — or hook it up to some sprinklers! The truth is that kids don’t really need an inner tube and water slides to have fun in the sun. You can also purchase some water balloons and have an all-out war to battle the heat on a hot day. If you really want to go all-out but don’t have a permanent pool set up, you can find a fun inflatable pool model the whole family can enjoy.
Hiking and Biking
Even though COVID-19 remains a concern in public spaces, many parks and hiking trails have remained open during this time. If you can pick a less-used trail or go during a less popular time, hiking can be a good way to work up a sweat and take in local wildlife. If every member of the family has access to a bicycle, you can look up local bike trails or take an evening ride around the neighborhood. You should bring masks along with either of these activities, but sticking to less populated spots can alleviate the need for constant mask-wearing.
Outdoor activities already have a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission, but it’s still best to stay around the house and in less crowded areas to flatten the curve. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you or your kids will have to give up going outside this summer. These ideas will be a big hit with everyone involved and will allow you all to get moving while prioritizing your health and safety.