While the school year starts back up the same as it does every year, things aren’t quite back to normal. Sending your kids back to school while COVID-19 continues to spread requires a shift in the way things are done. One thing that makes getting through the pandemic easier is the extra time spent with family and getting outside to enjoy the great outdoors. Nature has a calming effect on adults and children, and few things are more fun than exploring all that nature has to offer together as a family.
An increasing number of studies have pointed to the considerable benefits that a good dose of Vitamin-N (for nature) has on the body. Lower stress levels, better focus, a more positive attitude, and more. Below, we lay out some of our top favorite nature activities to help you and your family get through the pandemic—all while social distancing—to help make the best of a difficult situation.
5 Nature Activities to Enjoy as a Family While Social Distancing
1. Find a Favorite “Sit Spot”
Like it sounds, a sit spot is a place to sit, be still, and observe nature. Leading nature educator, Jon Young, recommends that adults and children discover a special place outside, whether it’s under your favorite tree in the backyard, in your garden, or a nearby creek. You can get all the benefits that nature has to offer without spending a dime. All you need is some time to reap the benefits of connecting with nature and reducing that sense of isolation. A sit spot could mean building a den, fort, treehouse, or any place that could help boost creativity and provide an outdoor comfort zone for kids.
2. Camp Out in the Backyard
You can still get the sense of adventure from sleeping under the stars or in a tent without leaving home! If you don’t have a tent, try getting extra imaginative by having the kids make their own tent with poles, sticks, and blankets. Urge them to stay outside as much as possible for the night and only go inside when necessary. Break out some binoculars or a telescope to turn the backyard into an observatory—watch birds and bats as the sun goes down, or see if you can spot your favorite constellations. Don’t have a backyard? Try pitching a hammock or blowing up an air mattress on your porch to provide the same change of scenery close to the outdoors that your kids will surely love.
3. Plant or Adopt a Family or Friendship Tree
Whether you live in a densely populated city or a quiet, rural neighborhood, you can plant a tree or adopt one on a special occasion and watch it grow together. Planting trees is not only good for the environment, but nurturing nature sends a positive message to kids. Watch how much growth can come with a little time and care, and keep track of the changes through notes and pictures every week. It can be something special to share as both the tree and your kids grow over the years.
4. Go on a Hike or Exercise Outside
While national parks may not be the best option to maintain safe social distancing, there are plenty of scenic, less-crowded trails to hike in New Jersey that the whole family will enjoy. Nature parks closer to home will have fewer visitors and still offer the excitement of getting out of the house along with a healthy Vitamin-D dose.
Adding games to your family hikes is an excellent way to help younger kids get excited about hitting the trail. For example, you can try playing “Walk this Way” by imitating different animals along your hike or bring walkie talkies to pretend you’re on a jungle exploration. Encourage leadership skills by having your children take turns leading the hike, walking in front, and setting the pace.
5. Watch Wildlife Up Close Through a Lens
On the days when you can’t get outside to enjoy the great outdoors, you can still have a taste online. The National Conservation Training Center and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have an eagle cam to watch live footage of a bald eagle’s nest up close and personal that’s truly remarkable. You can find various online nature cams to watch birds, dolphins, panda bears, and many other animals through different aquariums, zoos, and wildlife refuges throughout the country. Even though it’s through a lens, watching live animals in their habitat can spark your and your kids’ creativity and imagination!
86 Acres of the Great Outdoors at Central New Jersey’s Frogbridge Day Camp
At Frogbridge Day Camp, there are countless outdoor activities for every child’s interests across our 86-acre facility. We are proud to offer activities not commonly found elsewhere, from traditional sports to adventure sports, arts, crafts, and aquatics. If you’ve never experienced the wonders of Frogbridge Day Camp, we invite you to book a private tour for you and your family to explore our facility. Tours are private for one family at a time to keep safe social distances, and all safety protocols are followed.
We would love the opportunity to welcome your family to ours! Call our office to schedule your tour today at 609-208-9050 or complete our contact form online.