Staying Safe Outdoors and Having Fun!
As we manage through these difficult times, finding activities that are entertaining and maintain social distancing is important. This month, we are encouraging our siblings and families to get outside! When a family member is ill, it rattles our daily schedule, our feelings and family structure in a similar way this pandemic has. It is very likely that each family member is experiencing more stress and sadness during this time. Siblings often feel confused and uncertain how to interact with their ill brother or sister. A parent may feel overwhelmed caring for their ill child while still making enough time for their other children. Often ill children cannot do the same things they used to do. For these reasons, families need to take advantage of getting back to basics and getting outdoors.
Benefits of Outdoors:
Promotes creativity and imagination - unstructured play forces the mind to see things differently
Responsibility - taking care of living things and watching them grow allows for ownership
Different Stimulation- all 5 senses are involved
Gets you moving- physical activity benefits us for so many reasons
Makes you think- seeing trees, birds, animals...creates a sense of wonder
Reduces stress and fatigues- studies show that being in nature reduces blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol pressure (stress hormone)
What To Do!
When a child is ill in the home there are limitations to what families can do, but you can start small. Do your indoor things outside!
- Netflix, scroll through your phone, or read outside- sit on the porch or throw down a blanket outside and do your technology
- Eat outside - Make a picnic in the backyard.
- Walk don’t drive- Take the time to walk to the store or stroll around the block.
- Photos and videos- Create images and videos of your findings and share on social media.
Take the Outdoors Inside!
- Garden - Try growing vegetables or small plants inside.
- Bug Habitat- Watch caterpillars turn into butterflies in your own home. Order kits online!
- People watch, Nature watch- spend some time looking out the window, play I-spy or make a scavenger hunt. Who can find 3 nests? Or something that starts with the letter r?
- Hop in the car and drive around the neighborhood- Examine the tress, flowers and houses around you.
- Nature Hike - Go to your local park or playground. Check out the app All Trails!
- Sidewalk Chalk- hop scotch, drawings on the sidewalk or driveway
- Create Art - rubbings, coloring, create sculptures, use the outdoors as your supplies
- Sports- create obstacle courses, bike ride, kick around a soccer ball, play frisbee
- Visit- your local farm, seaside, community wildlife center (find some ideas below)
- Volunteer- Clean up beaches or trails to care for the environment.
- Camp out- you can checkout a local campgrounds or camp in your backyard
Programs that promote the outdoors!
- New York State Parks and Recreation- Listings of nature centers (with free or low cost programs for kids), campsites and trails
- CAMPS- Many are not operating in person but virtually with some great activities to do each day!
- Sunrise Day Camp- https://sunrisedaycamp.org/
- Things to do in New Jersey - http://www.kidsguidenj.com/
- Mommy Poppins always has great articles or lists of things to do
During stressful times it is important to connect with our loved ones. Small actions speak volumes. Taking 10 minutes outdoors or sharing an experience with a family member can improve us physically, emotionally and mentally. Create memories. So get out there!
As always, do what is best for your family; adhere to your doctor’s advice, follow CDC recommendations and wear a mask when appropriate.
Information was found at https://childmind.org/article/why-kids-need-to-spend-time-in-nature/