Summertime has been stressful for everyone. The last few months have been relatively uncertain, and for a lot of families, this has led to a lot of time indoors. However, there are tons of outdoor activities that you can do with your children in the safety of your backyard.
Understandably, some parents might be nervous about allowing their children to interact with others and take part in outdoor activities. While it may seem nerve-wracking, I’ve found multiple games and activities that kids can take part in that aren’t high contact and will allow them abide by some social distancing guidelines with minimal risk of exposure. Giving your children the chance to be children during these trying times is vital to their overall wellbeing. It’s also incredibly beneficial for parents who rightfully need a small break.
Keep reading to find out about the different activities your children can safely take part in outdoors. Children will love these age-appropriate, safe and socially-distanced activities, and you’ll get a few minutes of peace while they play. I’ve broken the list up into a few categories, giving you ideas for children with different types of interests.
Outdoor Sports and Games
The ideas in this section include a variety of different sports events and other active games that do not require closeness or physical proximity with others. They are all easy to set up and take limited preparation on the parent’s part. And they require limited supervision, giving parents a chance to relax.
Cornhole is a simple game that children often enjoy. It requires basic hand-eye coordination and teaches children hand and eye coordination. It’s also super simple to set up. You can make the cornhole board using common household objects, and make it as simple or intricate for your children as you want.
Traditionally, cornhole requires a wooden board with multiple holes cut out to score different points based on which hole your beanbag lands in. However, at-home cornhole can be as simple as using a piece of cardboard, a box cutter, and sharpies. You can prop your makeshift board against a tree, a rock, or a wall. If you don’t have beanbags readily available, consider filling balloons with flour instead. Simply mark a waiting area and a throwing area, and let your kids have fun.
Badminton is a simple game that can be played by children of almost any age. In the more traditional setting, you’ll need a net to bounce the birdie over, along with two racquets to play with. Badminton sets can often be purchased, net included, for $20 or less, and can bring countless hours of fun.
Jump rope games are often a favorite among younger children. Plus, it’s an easy way for them to use some of their excess energy. Purchasing a long jump rope usually costs less than $15. Allow children to take turns standing on opposite sides of the rope with one individual in the middle to jump in. By purchasing a 12-foot jump rope, it’s also easy to make sure everyone involved is appropriately socially distanced.
Fun Outdoor Activities
In this section, we will look at activities children can do outdoors that are safe by social distancing guidelines. Most of these activities allow your children to learn, explore or create safely.
Play with Sidewalk Chalk
Drawing and creating outdoors is a great way for kids to play and be expressive together. Take the chalk and mark a square for each individual child that’s six feet apart. Then, tell them that they’re free to draw and create whatever they’d like within their allotted square. If they need a push, give them prompts and ideas. They’ll enjoy being outside with their friends and getting to create unique pieces of outdoor art.
Do a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are easy to do while also promoting social distancing. There are a variety of ways you can set up a scavenger hunt for your children. If you’re playing with multiple children who need to practice social distancing guidelines, consider creating one “search area” for each child with a list of items to find in each area. You can choose to hide items for children to find or simply ask them to look for something they could find in nature. This kind of activity gets kids moving and encourages friendly competition, on top of teaching them how to be observant of the world around them.
Water Balloons and Water Gun Fights
We have all missed water activities this summer. While your kids might not be able to play with their friends in the pool, that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun with water. Fill a bucket of water balloons or provide simple water guns and let your children play in the backyard. The beauty of activities like this is that you rarely have to worry about getting close to another person. It defeats the purpose of the game, meaning it’s a great and safe way to have fun.
These activities often require going places and doing things. However, the activities in this section of the list don’t require person-to-person contact, making it safe to do while still being enjoyable for your kids.
Go for a Bike Ride
Kids often love to ride their bikes together. The good news is that according to the CDC, in most cases, activities such as bike rides are relatively safe as person-to-person contact is limited. So go ahead, take your kids on a bike ride around the block. Make sure everyone keeps a respectable distance from each other, and you’ll be sure to have quite a lot of fun.
Create a Slip and Slide
Backyard slip and slides are a part of most people’s childhood memories. Allowing your kids to create a backyard slip and slide out of tarp is an easy way for them to enjoy the water and the outdoors, get moving, and not have excessive contact. Limit the slip and slide to one person at a time, and everyone is safe and has a good time.
Enjoy Lunch Outside
A simple outdoor lunch can be a great way for everyone to get outside, relax, and have fun. Stay cool by freezing your favorite neck wrap and wearing it during your lunch. If you’re going to be lunching outdoors with multiple groups, simply set a blanket between each group to provide visible social distancing boundaries. Everyone gets to have a nice meal together, interact, and enjoy being outside with minimal risk.
The above ideas are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun in the sun. I know that it can seem a bit overwhelming right now, trying to find a way to make sure your children are safe, but also happy. It can feel like there are no safe solutions, but that’s why I’m here to help. There are dozens of games, activities, and events that small groups can safely take part in. As parents, we know just how important the balance between safety, fun and personal time can be – and that’s what these activities can provide.
During these trying times, the most important thing you can do as a parent is to feel empowered. If you want to read more on how to relax at home subscribe to my newsletter below.