As millions of families continue to self-quarantine at home, many are starting to get a little stir crazy. It’s especially tough for the kids, who need to stretch their legs and expend all their excess energy. With that in mind, parents are beginning to head outdoors again. Luckily, there are plenty of fun and safe activities you can enjoy with your kids from the comfort of your own backyard. What are they? Check out these seven ideas to encourage safe outdoor activity during lockdown.
While pulling weeds, watering plants and raking leaves may not be your idea of fun, these tasks are the definition of entertainment for kids. Most children love to make mud pies, smell flowers and pull vegetables from the earth.
This is how they appreciate and interact with the world around them. Plus, letting your little one play in your garden with you is a safe way to teach them about plants without risking there being poisonous ones nearby.
2. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts aren’t just for Easter. Hide toys, candy or other fun objects in your backyard and send the kids out to hunt for them.
If your child is very young, be sure to make the items easy to find and create a list with drawings of the objects to show them what to look for. Limiting the area to your backyard is safer than letting your kids traverse the neighbourhood or park where they may escape your watchful eye.
3. Bike Riding
If you and the kiddos want to explore beyond the reaches of your backyard, hop on your bicycles for a ride around the neighbourhood. Or, head to the park for a longer ride, taking advantage of some new tech for some added health benefits.
For example, bike riding helps improve cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of developing diseases. Just be sure everyone wears helmets to be extra safe when biking.
If you happen to have a pool, now may be the perfect time to teach your kids how to swim. Doing so can reduce your child’s risk of drowning if they accidentally fall into a body of water.
You should also teach them how to recognise dangerous situations, like rapids, currents and deep water. Make the day all about water by adding water guns, balloons and sprinklers to your list of fun activities.
5. DIY Obstacle Course
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many parks have closed their public playgrounds. However, even before the virus existed, parks rarely cleaned playground equipment, making jungle gyms germier than a public restroom.
Avoid playgrounds now and forever by creating your own obstacle course right in your backyard. Use whatever you have on hand including boxes, hula hoops, balls and lawn chairs. Make it a competition between siblings or race to set personal bests.
6. Sidewalk Chalk
Get artsy and pull out every stick of sidewalk chalk you can find. Draw hopscotch boards, flowers or write encouraging notes to passers by on the pavement. You can also play tic-tac-toe, four square or other fun games. The possibilities are endless.
While outside, be sure to use a lot of sunscreen and remind your kids to keep at least six feet away from other people while stay-at-home orders are still in effect.
7. Star Gazing
If your children still have leftover energy when bedtime rolls around, head outside with a blanket and a few pillows. Lay down and stare up at the stars together.
Point out a few constellations and teach them how to navigate using the night sky as their guide. This activity can help to calm kids down and get them ready for bed. Plus, it lets you get outside and enjoy nature at night, something people of all ages rarely get to do.
While the U.S. and UK remains in quarantine for the foreseeable future, continue to seek out ways to get outside and enjoy nature with your kids. Vitamin D from the sun, breathing in the fresh air and getting some exercise can help maintain the whole family’s mental and physical health. The above activities are simply suggestions to inspire your creative side and have some fun.
Still, it’s critical to practice safe social distancing regardless of the activities you and the kids choose. Remember to stay at least six feet away from strangers and avoid public places as much as you can. Doing so will ensure your family has a fun, safe summer, even if most of the activities you do are in your own backyard.
Dylan Bartlett blogs about health and wellness on his site, Just a Regular Guide. Follow him on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates on his work!