There are a large number of states that have issued shelters in place to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. This can be a difficult time for young children as they cope with the loss of playdates, school, and sports - and visits with friends and family. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean being trapped in your house 24/7, though! Help your children build a sense of community doing these fun activities you can do right in your own neighborhood.
1. Easter Egg Hunt
Easter is coming up soon (Sunday, April 12), and since we’re being encouraged to practice social distancing, neighborhood Easter egg hunts have been canceled. That doesn’t mean you can’t go hunt for Easter eggs! Many communities are doing window “Easter egg hunts” where families decorate Easter egg pictures and place them in their windows. Your children can go walking around the neighborhood, spotting all the different eggs!
2. Going On A (Teddy) Bear Hunt
Some communities are also doing “bear hunt” activities for the children, encouraging families to place teddy bears in their windows. Take your little ones on a walk around the neighborhood and see all the different types of teddy bears on display! You can bring a clipboard on your walk and keep a tally of all the different colors and sizes of teddy bears.
3. Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Do a quick online search for “outdoor scavenger hunts,” and plenty of fun lists will pop up! Print out a few and take your kids out on a walk, letting them find each item on the list. You can do different themes each day - one day can be plants, one day can be colors, one day can be senses, etc. This is a wonderful way for kids to explore nature and get to know their neighborhood better!
4. Bug Habitat
Toddlers and early elementary-aged children love collecting bugs! Grab a small container, fill it with some plants, and see how many bugs your kids can find! Roly polies are usually easy to find and are completely harmless. Depending on where you live, you might find ladybugs, moths, snails, or caterpillars! Be sure to supervise young children when handling bugs. Discuss different habitats with your kids, and create a bug habitat right in your backyard.
5. Spot The Rainbow
Some neighborhoods are putting rainbows on display. You can have your child color or paint a picture of a rainbow and hang it in your front window. You could also display a colorful flag, or put colorful pinwheels on your lawn. For very young babies, you can use non-toxic paint, and make a rainbow of handprints or footprints to put out on display! When you are done with your art project, take your children on a walk around the neighborhood to see how many rainbows you can find.
6. Rock Painting
7. Chalk Messages
An easy way to encourage your neighbors and friends is to get outside and draw encouraging pictures or messages on the sidewalk. Get out the chalk, and make some simple drawings to inspire your neighbors as they go on walks around the neighborhood! You can also use painter’s tape to tape off different shapes for your little one to color. When all the shapes are colored in, remove the tape for a beautiful surprise!
8. Find A New Hiking Spot
Even during shelters in place, many hiking trails and paths are still open to the public. Most people have never explored the beautiful hiking trails right in their own neighborhoods, and this is the perfect time to find a new spot to go for a walk! Remember, always stay 6 feet away from others in public spaces, and be sure that all family members wash their hands upon arriving home.
All of these ideas can truly help create a sense of community, even during these difficult times when we can’t interact with one another as usual. Pick a few ideas and start a movement in your own community!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.