As the season’s change and COVID-19 continues to affect all of our daily lives, we are constantly bombarded with information that is challenging at best to digest. At this point, we all have been practicing social distancing, which looks to be the case for the foreseeable future. The way we participate in large public gatherings, attend events both indoors and outdoors, go to school and even how we shop may all look quite different moving forward. All of this means we will continue to be spending more time at home. Which as the weather warms up, leads many of us to google "what to do with kids outdoors".
Even though the Coronavirus has closed schools and canceled events across the country, outdoor recreation can be a healthy outlet for families - as long as we make sure to stay informed and continue to practice those guidelines set forth by our states.
Fortunately, the temperatures are warming up meaning we can get out and spend more time in our yards and around our properties. Additionally, according to the CDC, we should “Encourage your child to play outdoors—it’s great for physical and mental health. Take a walk with your child or go on a bike ride.”
Here at Pure Solutions we crowd-sourced some of our favorite backyard activities and came up with a list of things to do while you are at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Scavenger Hunts - If you have young kids (like many of us at Pure Solutions), then you know they love to be outdoors. However, if left to their own devices trouble is bound to find them. One way we have kept our families busy is to set up scavenger hunts around our yards.
- The night before make up a map of your yard, plan out where you will hide clues and think about the location. (If you get buy-in from a neighbor, use their lawn as well.)
- Next, write out some simple, age-appropriate clues on pieces of paper. Wrap the clues with a rubber band (or tape them) to rocks, action figures, baseballs - have fun with it.
- Each clue should lead to the next, sending your child around the yard to explore where you have hidden the next clue.
- Have some rewards at a few different stations to entice them to continue to the end (our favorite is skittles).
- We like to make it a little more physical so some of our clues are “Do 10 jumping jacks and ask Mom where to go next.”
- Once they finish have an awesome prize that can be shared, it's not about winning it's just about completing the hunt!
- Backyard Nature Identification - Northern Woodlands has a great site about nature throughout New England; we especially like their “This Week In The Woods” features, which include photographs of nature that can be found throughout New England. Have you spotted a red eft? How about a Trout Lilly? Or Bloodroot?
- We also love iNaturalist from the Mass Audubon society “iNaturalist is an online platform designed to connect people like you to an entire community of nature enthusiasts. Users share sightings of plants, fungi, and animals and in return get identifications on what's in their images (or audio files).”
- Barbecuing - There is nothing like cooking outdoors - from burgers to corn on the cob’ At Pure Solutions, we are a company filled with grillers. Whether you are a purist that sticks to charcoal or you fire up the old trusty propane gas grill, there is just something calming about cooking outdoors. Check out this video on the art of grilling a burger if you are new to the game. Also, Anthony Bourdain’s 10 rules for grilling meat is a fun read:
- Don’t bother to get too hot
- Air it out
- Season your meat
- Oil it
- Preheat your grill
- Make 45-degree turns
- Don't fiddle with it
- Ensure perfect doneness
- Cut right
- Master the sides
- Build an Obstacle Course - We get it, not all yards are created equal but after watching “Dad Creates Ninja Warrior Course For Daughter” you can see that space is not the defining factor of an amazing obstacle course. Now, this Dad definitely went over the top, but kids (and adults!) have been loving obstacle courses since, well...forever. Take stock of what you have laying around, utilize toys, lawn furniture, linens/towels, garden hose and those 30 boxes from Amazon you have laying around. Get creative and just start building, you’ll be amazed how much fun you can have just building the course!
- Bird Watching - Who knew so much could be going on right outside your door, no matter where you live? You don’t have to invest in a bird feeder, although we recommend getting one as it has really brightened up our bird activity in our yards (which is appreciated during these long stay-at-home days due to the Coronavirus). We love this post from Audubon Washington simply titled “Why Watch Birds.” Some reasons they give are below:
- It sharpens your sight.
- It encourages you to explore the world.
- It gives you something to write about.
- It makes you an authority in the neighborhood.
- It helps you to treasure a moment.
- It provides you with opportunities to meet someone new.
“From DIY feeders to quick tips for making a bird-friendly yard or home, here are some fun and creative ways to help—and enjoy—your feathered visitors.” audubon.org
We realize that we may be settling into a new version of normal. Having to spend more time at home in our yards during the COVID-19 pandemic is a small price to pay versus some of the alternatives. However, spending more time in our yards and among nature on our property does come with some additional risks - namely more exposure to ticks and mosquitoes. May is Lyme Disease awareness month, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US every year. Last year, here in Massachusetts we also dealt with an Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus outbreak due to mosquitoes. Traditionally, we slather ourselves in chemicals like DEET which have been shown to have worrisome side effects on both humans and our environment. Additionally, many towns and people also treat and spray for mosquitoes and ticks with harsh, toxic chemicals that are now being reviewed for potentially causing cancer.
Here at Pure Solutions, we offer a natural alternative with our organic tick and mosquito spray services. For over a decade we have been immensely effective in treating yards for mosquitoes and ticks safely. If you are spending more time at home and want to protect yourself, your family and your pets from tick and mosquito-borne illnesses without exposing them to toxic chemicals, get in touch with us today!