Getting outside as a family is a great way to spend time together. But what can you do to have some outdoor fun while staying a safe distance from others during the COVID-19 pandemic? Think nature exploration! Read on for ways that you and your children can get a physical and emotional boost from being outdoors while still practicing good social distancing.
Consider Your Impact: This isn’t a new concept; for those of us who rely on wild lands and rivers for our well-being, we know how critical it is that we care for them—that we move consciously through them and measure our gains with the long-term impacts our presence may pose. That same ethos can serve us well in the time of COVID if we expand our lens to the gateway communities that often rely on places we love for revenue from tourism, and are also often rural, with limited health and emergency resources. It’s the job of every recreationist now (and perhaps always) to consider how their added presence in a place contributes or detracts from the community (or communities) that call that place their permanent home by knowing and respecting all local guidelines and restrictions for going out and recreating.
Take Some Distance: You can honor social distancing recommendations and still be out. Get creative. Consider small crafts, like packrafts or kayaks, rather than cramming big crews into one raft. Enjoy smaller groups of friends. Maybe take some alone time. Consider non-peak hours – set the alarm earlier, or take an off-hour lunch break.
Forget the Parks: Seek out the spaces in between, the backyards and alleys. It’s a great time to explore an irrigation ditch or the woods at the edge of town — to see what’s around you. What nearby plot of public land or stretch of river, back alley or small park, might not be “the best”, but that you could come to know without putting others, or yourself, at risk?
Other Outdoor Activities
Have a ball: Kicking a soccer ball or playing catch together can be fine if you are apart from each other and avoid sharing sports equipment with others outside your household.
Running: Maybe you’ve picked up running during the coronavirus outbreak or perhaps you’re a veteran cyclist. Whatever your cardio career looks like, you might be wondering if you’re putting other people at risk while you’re out there huffing and puffing.
The coronavirus spreads primarily through coughing and sneezing. And when someone does this, they’re expelling little droplets that can travel about six feet out.
So go ahead – take the dog for a walk, ride your bike or hit up that running trail you’ve been meaning to visit. Just remember, we’re still in a pandemic and you still need to practice good social distancing, even outside.