Backyard Activities

During this time of uncertainty that the world is currently facing, getting outdoors is imperative. Spending time in Nature has robust effects on our health – physically, mentally and emotionally.  As the world hunkers down to minimize the spread of COVID-19, we need the anti-stressors of nature, sunlight, and Vitamin D now more than ever.  Even though we are advised to stay home, we can still get outdoors and active for our health.  Given the current guidelines to minimize travel, we encourage you to get creative in ways to enjoy nature around your homes and neighborhoods.  We also encourage you to download the Healthy Parks TN iOS app or use our web app to earn FREE rewards while doing so.

Since many of you are self-quarantining or your full house is quarantining, you might need some ideas of how to get outside! Maybe you (you definitely do) need a break from deep cleaning the house, rearranging the furniture, or watching Friends on Netflix for the 6th time.  Here are some ideas to get you out of the house but still at a safe distance from others:

  • Eat outside:  Move your meals from the dining table to outside.  Use this opportunity to talk about where food comes from!
  • Exercise:
    • Yoga : Child pose, Cobra, Triangle pose, Downward-facing dog, Mountain Pose,  Pigeon pose, Warrior I/II Pose (look up videos if needed)
    • Home Body Weight Workout: push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, walking lunges, Russian twists, plank, wall sit (look up circuit workouts, HIIT workout, EMOM workouts for examples!!)
    • Stretching: side oblique stretch, cat/cow stretch,  standing hamstring stretch, figure four stretch, butterfly stretch, seated shoulder squeeze, seated neck release
  • Plant something: Use this opportunity to talk about growing your own food, the environment, how it is changing, and what we can do to preserve and protect it!
    • Plant directly in the ground (vegetables, flowers, etc.)
    • Decorate recycled materials (milk jug, coke can, egg cartons, wagon) as a planter… Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Build something:  Let them be creative and use their imagination by providing things like sticks, leaves, dirt, rope, etc.
    • a den, a house, a tee-pee, a fort, a village – Be creative!
  • Play outside:
    • Play I-Spy or red light green light
    • Make an outdoor obstacle course using what you have!
    • Climb a tree, Ride a bike, Go for a walk!
    • Create an outdoor scavenger hunt (find an acorn, pine cone, flower, something alive, etc.)
    • Cloud Art:  Let kids use their imagination to talk about what the clouds look like.  Use this opportunity to talk to them about weather or rain or water.
  • Collect:  Give the kids a jar and have them collect bugs or small plants from outside and have them talk about them with you. (jar, magnifying glass)
    • Make a nature scrapbook/guide (draw the leaf/bug/flower and identify)
  • Outdoor crafts:  There are numerous ways to use items outside as opportunities for crafts
    • Make forest faces: mud/clay, leaves, grass, sticks, acorns, rocks, bark, moss (whatever nature you want to use to make a face)
    • Make a bird feeder (pine cone, bird seed, peanut better, string)

Use this opportunity to be creative and productive while staying at home. Encourage your children to have an imagination outside instead of on the video game. Most importantly, MOVE YOUR BODY OUTSIDE. Sunlight and even a little bit of greenery can help reduce stress, anxiety, blood pressure and improve focus and mood! Take in the sunlight, whether its doing an afternoon workout or helping your child make a bird feeder, make sure to get OUTDOORS… from a safe distance of course!