The weather is warming up (hooray!), and while we’d all like to break out of the house and get outdoors, we can’t exactly run free like we used to do. If you have a backyard, now is the time to use it like crazy. Play lawn games, make obstacle courses, let the kids dig in the dirt, and so on. If you do want to stray from your immediate property for a little adventure, here are six things to do in your own neighborhood—just make sure to follow social distancing guidelines to keep your family safe and healthy!
Take the Kids on a Neighborhood Safari
It’s pretty quick and easy to organize a neighborhood safari. Message all the folks in your ’hood using a social media site like Facebook or Nextdoor. Ask everyone to put stuffed animals in their house windows or on their front lawns so kids can stroll by and spot them. Depending upon the size of your neighborhood, you could create a map of all houses that have animals. Or just let families get the extra exercise wandering around looking for them!
Go on a Bear Hunt
Just like a neighborhood safari, a bear hunt is a great way to get outside with a specific mission in mind: find all the teddy bears! If your area hasn’t already organized one, get online and ask friends and neighbors to quickly prop a bear in their window for your kids to ogle from the street. Make a morning of it and read the classic children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, sing and dance to the song by The Kiboomers, and then head outside for the real deal.
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Organize a Walk-n-Wave
Recruit some nearby friends and family to wave from their windows as you walk by with your cabin-feverish family. Send a text message the night before to organize a schedule and then allow for 5-15 minutes at each house or building. Up the fun factor and have your kids make funny signs to show off during each distant visit.
Count the Rainbows
You’ve probably heard about families putting rainbows in windows, maybe you’ve even made your own. Get back out there and try to count ALL of the rainbows (many windows have multiples!), take photos of them to craft a rainbow collage at home, or venture to a nearby neighborhood and find new ones.
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I Spy: Neighborhood Edition
Take your usual walk or make some new, interesting turns while playing I Spy with your kids. You might point out colors, shapes, patterns, signs, numbers, foliage, animals, and more. Or spy something with your little eye and then have your kids ask 20 questions to narrow down what it may be.
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Cue the Classics
When all else fails, classic toys like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and other messy stuff like finger paints are even more fun when you take them outdoors. Older kids can stay active with games like freeze tag, red light, green light, jump ropes, and pogo sticks. And don’t forget to pull out all the scooters, bikes, and roller skates that may have been neglected over the winter.
Just remember, don’t go anywhere near a playground and shy away from public spaces that have more than a few people milling about. Opt for your own driveway or block, big, open fields, beaches, or woods that aren’t full of other families. Have fun and stay safe!
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Whitney C. Harris is a freelance writer and NYMetroParents’ Manhattan and Westchester calendar editor. She lives in Sleepy Hollow, NY, with her husband, a toddler, a preschooler, and a dog.
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