Social distancing has us all getting a little stir-crazy. The seemingly endless days of staring at the same four walls create stress, anxiety, and even depression. Once we've binge-watched as many shows as we can stand and organized the house from top to bottom, we're faced with many hours of "What do we do now?" with no end in sight.
One of the best ways to fight off cabin fever is to get out of the cabin. Here are three fun activities to do outside as a family to safely break away from the monotony of the same old surroundings.
For families with younger kids, scavenger hunts are always a hit. They make the same old backdrop into a more interesting experience by adding a search to it. Your kids have looked at your backyard for weeks, but they'll see it differently if they have to examine it for a purple flower or a brown ant.
If you live in an apartment where natural space is limited, conduct your search in the parking lot. Send the kids to find an out-of-state license plate or a funny bumper sticker. Create a long list of assignments so that you can extend the game as long as possible.
What's great about scavenger hunts is that you can stop when weather or fatigue set in and then resume at another time. You can also make the same location new again by creating a new list.
If you find that the kids are tracking things down too quickly, increase the difficulty to extend the opportunity for physical activity.
Getting out into nature isn't just enjoyable, but it has also been proven to be good for your mental health. The yard is a good starting point, but taking in the scenic beauty of the Kern River opens all kinds of doors, even if the natural preserve isn't operating its normal activities.
A simple drive through the area will introduce your kids to beautiful vegetation, scenic water features, and wildlife that they can only see on a screen when you're sheltering in place.
If you can find somewhere to (legally) take a hike, even a short one, you'll get the physical benefits of the outdoors as well as the mental ones.
Check with nature preserves, public forests, and similar areas near your home to see whether you can at least drive through and take in the sights and smells of the best Mother Nature has to offer.
You may have a treadmill or stationary bike to keep those quarantine snacks from impacting your waistline, but an outdoor exercise is also a great option.
Somewhere in an essential store, you can probably find bicycles and helmets for sale. Get upgrades for those growing kids, and add one for each of the grownups (who probably haven't kicked a kickstand in many years).
You can use all kinds of online tools to plan and measure your course so that you aren't just riding in circles around your neighborhood. There are also lots of free apps that can track and store your trips so that you can keep tabs on how far everyone has traveled. You can cover a lot of miles without going very far from home, and this creates a great learning opportunity for kids to do math by calculating average distance and speed, creating charts of their progress, and determining how many calories everyone has burned.
The term "new normal" has been used a lot during the coronavirus outbreak. We often think of it as a description of the things we have to sacrifice in order to control the spread of the disease, but we can look at it from a different perspective too.
Thinking of this time of social distancing as an opportunity to develop new outdoor activities can not only distract us from the limitations on our lives. It can also create a new perspective on what we can do after the restrictions are lifted. The fact that you started an enjoyable family biking tradition during a not-so-enjoyable time doesn't make it any less fun. Instead, it's a great way to make lemonade from your quarantine lemons. Get outdoors, break the boredom, and start a positive new tradition!
You may also like