Like many of you, our family is doing our best to embrace this new normal as we move through the rest of the summer. While some things are feeling a bit more routine here in New York City – I’m back at work, restaurants are open for outdoor dining, and we can get professional hair cuts again – there’s still a lot we’re adjusting to. We’ve limited our social circle to just family, we’re socially distancing with friends, and we still aren’t one hundred percent sure what school is going to look like in the fall.
Despite the unknowns, one thing we know for sure is that most socializing will be done at a distance for the foreseeable future. This means that any outings with our kids’ friends need to be done outside. As I put a list together for my own little ones, I thought it might come in handy for some of you, too!
My goal with all of these is to find fun ways to share an experience with others, while staying safe by avoiding close contact.
I’d love to hear any activities your family has been leaning on in the comments below.
Grab an ice cream cone.
Depending on what’s open, maybe this means driving to an ice cream shop, walking up to an ice cream truck in the neighborhood, swinging by the grocery store, or bringing your own from home to a central meeting point.
Do a nature scavenger hunt.
Parents can easily put these together ahead of time, write or print out a least for each kiddo, and join together (at a distance) at the park, beach or other outdoor location. Here are some ideas on what to include in your hunt!
Kick the ball.
We’re all trying to limit contact, which I believe is harder for children more than anyone else. So much of being a kid and playing with your friends revolves around sharing toys with one another that all of this has to feel so unnatural to them. One way we’ve worked around this is by kicking a soccer ball around at the park rather than playing catch. This way kids can still feel connected and have a chance to truly interact with one another.
Pack a picnic and meet in the park.
This has been one of our favorite things to do this summer. We pack up all our favorite snacks, a blanket, a handful of toys and meet our buds in the park. This can of course be done in a backyard or wherever else you feel comfortable!
Go for a swim.
Private pool, public pool, lake, ocean, or wherever you’re able to swim safely, you know your kids will be over the moon. It’s hard to think about a childhood summer that didn’t revolve around swimming in my life and doing something like this can create such a sense of normalcy in an otherwise trying time. One suggestion to keep distance while in the pool – rafts! Let your little one pick out a draft for the pool and make sure they stay close to it.
Make an outdoor craft.
I’ve seen parents getting so creative in the parks here and I’m dying to do the same! It obviously takes some time to get materials together, but I think that if you can make a clear plan with another family it’s worth it. Something like this makes it even easier!
Drop off goodies and notes.
The weather here in NYC has been insanely humid and hot, and it honestly takes us a lot to get out the door, but while we’re stuck inside we are constantly making treats in the kitchen and art projects when I can get everyone to sit down for more than five minutes. We’ve been doing our best to think of others through this time and spread joy when we can. After making a handful of goodies we’ve been loving surprising our friends and family close by with a little delivery!
Nature walk / easy hike.
One of our favorite activities we’ve done this year was taking a drive out of the city and taking the kids for an easy hike on a very open trail. We were easily able to keep our distance and it would be the perfect adventure to invite our friends along on!