Time to live in the moment, relax and enjoy, and soak up some Vitamin D. This pandemic has many people very cautious and concerned about their families. Some adults are very anxious about it. But, have you noticed the children? They might look like they are just playing nearby, but they glance at you nervously. They wonder why you are worried or upset. It is more stressful for the children than for you because they don’t understand all the data being presented about this virus, they just see the adults. What can you do to lower their stress level, and yours too? Go outside! What?! We aren’t allowed to do that! Let’s clarify. Going out into your own backyard is perfectly fine. You are socially distanced in your own backyard. Check out these outdoor activities!
Do you remember when you were a child? Did you like to go outside? What did you do when you went outside? Did you play hide and seek or sit in the shade of a tree and read a book? How did it make you feel? You want your children to feel those same moments of freedom and peacefulness that you did. Today is a good day to do that for your child. Sure, you might have to work from home, or maybe you are just off during this time; but, you can go outside with your child and work outside in the shade while your child plays. Maybe you could even take some time to engage with your child without devices. Below are some suggestions for things to do with your child outside.
Some Outdoor Activities Ideas:
- Unplug. Use no devices. Take a magnifying glass if you have one and see what you can find in your yard. There are endless possibilities.
- Take an old sheet outside with you. You could have a picnic or a tea party on it. You could tie it up to your fence and a tree for a fort or put it across a chair or two to have a privacy space for reading to a doll or stuffed animal (we call those reading buddies). Maybe the sheet somehow becomes the castle and you are the king or queen and you have to save the prince or princess from the dragon (your dog). You get the idea. 😊
- Have chalk? Draw pictures on your fence or on your porch (it washes off when it rains). Draw a hopscotch board and use it together. Make a start and a finish line and have a race.
- Make mud pies. There is nothing like playing in mud when you are a child. Give your child some old pie pans and an old spoon and let them go to town making mud pies. Did you know that playing in mud is a good mood elevator? Check out this article about how soil is a good antidepressant.
- Bring some old pots, pans, and a spoon outside and let them “make music”. Include some old scarves or lightweight material to use in creative expression dancing around the yard or “decorating” that fort. You can make some shakers from paper towel rolls, duct tape, and dry beans or rice. Decorate the paper towel roll before you begin. This could potentially keep them happily engaged in creativity for a long time.
Need to Stay Indoors?
Perhaps you aren’t the going outside kind of person. You can still do many of these things inside, but you won’t get the benefit of the Vitamin D and sunshine to help you fight off any virus. Research has proven that sunlight is effective to help you fight respiratory illness. Boom! That is big for the flu and respiratory viruses.
Some of the possible things to do inside with your child would be coloring or drawing, making a fort or tent, playing hide and seek, playing a board game, bake some cookies together, or you fill in the blank. The possibilities are endless! The benefit for your child is he/she gets to de-stress. The benefit for you is that you get to de-stress too!
My challenge to you is this. Try these outdoor activities, stay inside if you must, and connect with your child. It will relieve their stress and yours. All children need someone in their corner cheering them on. Be that person for your child today by unplugging and tuning in to their needs and engage with them. Then at the end of the day, reflect with your child and ask what his/her favorite part of the day was, then be amazed.
Now go outside and encourage your child to get dirty!
If you are looking for more activities during these times, check out these resources:
Social Distancing – Making it Fun & Educational