The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on a number of summer activities that we are used to enjoying.
Many summer camps are cancelled or nearly impossible to get into, rec centres are closed, events like the Canada Day parade and fireworks are postponed or axed, festivals and concerts are a no-go and team sports are hold.
However, it doesn’t get us anywhere to dwell on the negative so we are here to give you 10 simple (and free!) outdoor activities that you can do with your family while social distancing and keeping your family safe and healthy.
“We know that outdoor recreation and being outside in well-ventilated outdoor spaces, there can be less of a risk in those spaces if people are following the guidelines,” said Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on May 16.
- Get Wet
Pools and splash parks may be closed but water fun in the backyard is still a go. Pull out the sprinkler, Slip n’ Slide, blow-up pool, water table and any other wet and wild toys you have to create your very own interactive and germ-free splash park.
- Camp Out
Campgrounds may be closed, have restrictions or be booked up but you can always get a prime spot in your own backyard.
Pitch the tent, roast some S’mores, hunt for bugs, tell ghost stories – almost anything you can do in a campsite; you can do in your yard.
- Drive In
Sad about not being able to catch a flick in theatres? Check out the growing number of companies that are providing drive-in movies in Calgary and Alberta.
If you prefer to stay closer to home, bring any portable device outside snuggle up in a blanket with some popcorn and view your movie under the stars (this is a great addition to camp out night!).
- Scavenger Hunt
Whether you choose to do this outdoors or save it for indoors on a rainy day, a scavenger hunt can be a great way to spend some time together.
Depending on the age of your kids, it can be as simple as “find something red” or as difficult as you want to make it.
It can be particularly fun to add a personal flair to the game with challenges like “find something that makes you smile” or bump up the education factor with “find a book with the number that answers this equation 5+3=_”.
- Get Gardening
For a longer-term project that can keep you busy from June until September, start a garden.
Choose if you want to grow flowers, veggies or both. Pick a spot, put in the work and you have a fun and educational plot right in your yard.
Extra bonus: Your garden will provide you with beautiful flowers or yummy fruits and veggies for months!
- Take A Hike
One thing that isn’t closed is nature. There is nothing better than going for a hike under the sun.
Many parks are now starting to open up and as long as you follow the Alberta Health Services guidelines and keep two metres between yourself and any other hikers who are not living in your household, it is perfectly safe.
Add some extra fun by bringing along a picnic and finding a scenic spot to chow down.
- Computer Camp
If your kids are bummed about not being able to go to a summer camp this year, take it online.
As with many things during the pandemic, summer camps have gone virtual and there are many to choose from.
The topics and interests are just as vast as in-person camps so whether your kiddo is into art, math or zoology, there is something out there for them.
- Open Road
Going for a scenic drive is something you can do on a hot summer day or when it is rain and cool out.
Break up the day by packing up the kids and some snacks and heading out.
Playing car games along the way keeps things exciting and you can always take a picnic, find a nice spot and have your own sports-free tailgating party.
- Gone Fishing
Some would say fishing is a lost art.
What was once a popular way for kids to pass the time on the weekends is seen less and less.
You don’t need to be a pro or even really know what you are doing to hunt out a beautiful spot on the water and cast a line.
It doesn’t matter if you catch anything, just enjoy nature, the experience and the company.
- Caching In
Geocaching is another hobby that has fallen out of popularity but that doesn’t mean there aren’t hundreds of surprises located in local parks.
On the website geocaching.com, you have access to GPS coordinates, terrain level, difficulty rating, size and description of the more than 300 caches hidden throughout Airdrie.
All you need is a smart phone, a data connection and a sense of adventure.