Social distancing and getting outdoors – Covid-19
Social distancing and getting outdoors – Covid-19
Like so many people around the world, we are trying to social distance, and yet a sunny weekend has shown the challenges of doing social distance while also getting out. At LtL we believe in ‘risk vs benefit’ – and getting outdoors to breathe the fresh air, raise your heart rate and contact with nature has huge benefits for us all. So, how do you do social distancing and getting outdoors?
The two key things to bear in mind are:
– Keeping a couple of metres away from each other. Please do walk around people, or walk through narrow spaces without others there, or just not on the path.
– Consider wearing gloves, particularly if you have gates or handrails to touch. You can take a plastic bag for the gloves to go in when you take them off.
Here are our top tips and some activity ideas for all of you to support getting out while keeping away from the crowds.
1. Avoid the play park area
Everyone has some obvious green space in their area – however, it is the area everyone will flock to. Make a list of the places you know are often busy – and expect them to be even busier at present. Decide to just not go there.
2. Stay in your private space
If you are fortunate to have a garden or outdoor space, work out how you can use it without leaving it. For example, my family are planning some keep fit activities in our garden, I have a list of jobs to get round to, I have scrap pallet wood to build bird boxes and bug hotels with and woe betide any weeds in my garden. Take time to sit with your children and ask them for what ideas they have in the space.
3. Get off the path
Paths are there for a reason – they allow walking and cycling as a way of journeying. By not using the paths or taking our outdoor time off the path. Just head into the middle of the grass or walk parallel to a path. Even consider walking totally off the path an discovering what is there. Off the path, you will find fewer people.
4. Go at a different time
We are all creatures of habit. To mix up when we are outdoors is good to reduce peak crowding. Take to going out at dawn or dusk, if a place is busy at a particular time, try a different time. Don’t follow the crowd’s routine and you will find some distance.
5. Look for ‘unlikely’ places
Look to access spaces that are not the obvious ‘green walk’ – a long street walk around residential housing or business park area may offer less contact with others, particularly if it has wider pavements. For example I have a few streets I can take ‘zig zag’ street route to get time and distance in without using the main shop’s boulevard or main routes to our town boundary walks.
See if you have some private greenspace you can access – we have a hotel with very large grounds who have been happy for people to walk in, if they do not come into the hotel.
Think about heading to the less glamorous spaces – that unkempt park or mono-culture woodland area. Now might be a time to help clear up some of these areas, so maybe take gloves and a bin bag with you.
6. Look for ‘unlikely’ activities
Below are some ideas for activities to play and learn from, which others may not be up to.
Photo scavenger hunts
Set yourself a challenge to take 10 photo’s on a theme or challenge. Topics could include:
o Colours of the rainbow
o 10 textures
o Letters of the alphabet
o Mini-beasts and close-up pictures
o ‘Count to 10’
This classic game is a great way of engaging on a walk. Perhaps you could specify things beginning with a certain letter?
Work with your child to make a bingo sheet of numbers – for young children this may only be five numbers, for something more challenging it could be twenty numbers between 1-100.
GeoCaches are a secret treasure trove, only to be discovered using the app and to be kept secret from ‘Muggles’. Basic membership is free, you can then download local caches and go find them with the build in navigation. We suggest logging caches digitally for now, not handling the containers. See www.geocaching.com or search for GeoCaching on App Store or Play Store.
A fabulous app for helping you identify plants, animals, bugs and more. Completely free, you can sign up at https://www.inaturalist.org/ . You can then map the things you find and see what others have found locally – often things you may never have noticed.
Chalk it up
Use chalk or stones to mark make and draw on the pavement. Ideal for some old games such as hopscotch or target bean-bags. Share your artwork with the group.
If you have some things lying around, can you create an obstacle course in your back garden? You could climb over thigs, balance along things, throw a ball into the bucket and more. If you have a local space, nature can often provide logs, steep banks, slippy balance stones and more.
With fewer cars and planes around, it is easier to smell things. Take your nose for a walk and see what things smell, and can you describe the smell? Remember that there are some things that have a smell we wouldn’t often seek out – find out if your local tree smells, what about that freshly painted fence or indeed if the air has a smell to it.
Let us know how you get on with maintaining social distancing and getting outdoors – use our Facebook groups for Teachers and Educators or for Parents and Families. If you do not have Facebook, you can sign up to our weekly ideas via our free membership.