Parents, it’s OK if you find yourself having a hard time navigating the pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis didn’t have a chapter in our parenting textbooks, and we need to give ourselves grace as we work hard to keep our kids healthy, happy, and safe during the quarantine.
If you’re trying to think of fun and safe ideas to get your kids to move, here are some physically-distanced outdoor activities and sports you can try together as the pandemic rages on.
Fishing is a naturally pandemic-friendly activity because it doesn’t require a lot of face-to-face interaction. It’s probably best that people don’t communicate while fishing to disturb the fish and momentum. There are plenty of fishing towns in the U.S. that you can explore, depending on the type of fishing you want to do. For fly-fishing, Glenwood Springs in Colorado is a treasure trove.
For saltwater and deep-sea fishing, the Florida Keys is the best place to go on an expedition since you might be able to catch some highly sought-after species like permit, redfish, tarpon, bonefish, and snook. For freshwater fishing, Lake Fork Reservoir in Texas provides an array of fish species from its clear waters. You only need to invest in the right gear, like an aluminum Penn Battle 3 spinning reel and rev up your engine to bring your family on a fishing expedition none of you will ever forget.
Nature scavenger hunt
If you’re lucky enough to live in a home with a yard, or if you have easy access to greenery, plan an elaborate nature scavenger hunt or treasure hunt for your kids to enjoy. Depending on their age, you can have them solve puzzles, riddles, or even go through escape rooms. Education experts say that scavenger hunts are good for kids because it allows them to sharpen their problem-solving skills. It will also enhance their penchant for strategy and critical thinking. Simultaneously, scavenger hunts or treasure hunts can be easily customizable according to your children’s interests, hobbies, and abilities.
Hiking and camping
If you and your kids love the great outdoors, there’s no reason why the pandemic needs to stop you from going hiking or camping, as long as you’re exercising every health and safety precaution necessary. Hiking is an outdoor activity that doesn’t require you to be in close physical contact with people you don’t live with, and you can always choose trails or national parks that are not as crowded.
The American Hiking Society says that it’s still possible to hike safely as long as you keep a safe distance from people you don’t live with and as long as you wear masks when you’re within less than six feet from other people. Note that not all national parks have opened back up, and others that are open may be chock-full of people who need their hiking fix. Just follow the state’s health and safety guidelines and use your best judgment when deciding where to go and what to do.
Skiing is another activity that is generally considered low-risk since it’s done outdoors, does not require close physical contact, and everyone is already wearing masks, gloves, and goggles. However, should you and your family decide to go on a ski trip, make sure to avoid staying at enclosed gondolas or bars for a long period. As always, exercise caution, and find ski resorts that aren’t as crowded and busy as others.
Another activity that is generally pandemic-safe is golfing because it’s not a contact sport and is done outside. If you and your family already have your golf clubs, then that’s already half the battle since you won’t have to worry about being in contact with high-touch items, even if the golf club sanitizes them regularly. You need to bring other items, including extra tees and balls (again, to reduce chances of touching high-touch items), your water bottle, and an extra sleeve of golf balls. Remind your children to keep a safe distance from other people, especially from those they don’t live with.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, you need to exercise your best judgment when deciding what activities are safe for your kids to do during the COVID-19 crisis. It may seem easy to throw caution to the wind, but we need to do all that we can to provide kids with activities that are good for them—and in the time of a pandemic, “good” includes activities that won’t expose them to the virus.