If you’re feeling cooped up inside right now, you’re not the only one. And if you don’t have a yard, chances are you’re feeling that cabin fever extra hard, as are your kids.
Social distancing and self-isolation is hard on everyone. While I’m extremely thankful to have a comfortable home where I can safely stay inside, I would be lying if I didn’t feel pangs of jealousy when I scroll through Instagram and see other families out in their yards, swinging on their swing sets, or splashing around in their backyard pools.
My daughter will turn 1 this summer and has yet to be on a swing. And with playgrounds closed and us living in a townhouse, I don’t know when she will get to feel the thrill of her first swing ride.
While a yard to swing and run around in would be amazing, right now we don’t have that, and we’re not the only ones. Thankfully though, there are safe ways to be outside while keeping our distance from others. With a little creativity and caution, you and your kids can have fun and enjoy the fresh air.
Here are nine outdoor activities—no yard required.
1. Have fun with chalk in your driveway, sidewalk, or at the park
If you don’t have a yard and are living in a big city, chances are you also might not have a driveway. If that’s the case, bring your chalk to a dead-end street, to your sidewalk, or to a park where there is plenty of open space to be creative. Draw up a hopscotch board for your kids or just freely doodle with the chalk.
2. Participate in a scavenger hunt
If you’re struggling to get your kids to join you on a neighborhood walk, turn it into a game. There are plenty of scavenger hunts available online, or create your own. Try different themes, like finding different colors around your neighborhood and in nature; searching for different shapes; or looking for different flowers, leaves, and trees.
3. Go for a picnic
While playgrounds are closed, most parks have open grassy space that you can take advantage of. Have your kids help prepare a picnic breakfast or lunch and head to a nearby park to enjoy your meal al fresco.
4. Drive to a new park
If you’re getting tired of the same park walk day after day, go for a drive and explore a new park or neighborhood. Even car rides can feel like an adventure and the change of scenery will keep your outdoor time interesting.
5. Scoot or bike around the park
The perfect combination of fresh air and exercise to tire out your kids. Work up a sweat rolling around the park and do mini races with each other. Look for parks with wide walkways to allow for space between your crew and the other park visitors.
6. Stargaze at night
We usually think of outdoor time during daylight, but don’t forget about the evening hours. Since the weather is warming up, you might be able to spend a few minutes stargazing before your kid’s bedtime. Or if it’s after bedtime, maybe it’s a special treat to stay up late for this outdoor activity every once in a while. Stargazing is easy to do from a balcony, rooftop, or sidewalk.
7. Take advantage of your small outdoor spaces
You may not have a full-sized yard, but maybe you have a balcony or rooftop or small outdoor space. Even if it’s a tiny area, you can make the most of it with the right gear. Water tables or mini pools are perfect for small spaces. There are even compact swings that can work in these tight spots.
8. Search for wide trails
Many hiking trails are currently closed and should be avoided as they can be narrow; therefore, it’s hard to keep 6ft between hikers. Do a little searching online to find easy hikes that feature extra-wide trails. Go during off-hours, and if it ends up being too crowded for your comfort level, cut your hike short.
9. Embrace the rain
Rainy days usually signal staying inside. Flip that idea, and use rainy days as a fun opportunity to get outside—parks and sidewalks will likely be emptier than on sunny days. Dress the part with a rain suit and waterproof shoes and get to splashing.