Indoor and Outdoor Fun for Summertime
Summer is the time for throwing your cares to the wind and having fun. But with the coronavirus pandemic still raging across the globe, it’s hard to be carefree right now. That doesn’t mean we aren’t all craving some indoor and outdoor fun this summer.
Even as states relax restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, millions of stir-crazy Americans remain wary of taking part in summertime activities. Having a picnic in the park, swimming at the beach, and holding a neighborhood barbecue all seem too risky in the face of the disease. And the fact that the virus has claimed over 100,000 lives in the United States alone is enough to make anyone want to stay at home until this whole thing blows over, whenever that might be.
So does this mean you can’t have any fun this summer? Absolutely not! There’s a slew of indoor and outdoor activities that you can do to while away the hot and humid summer days while staying safe and coronavirus-free. Here are just some of them.
Beyond binge-watching your favorite shows and baking breads and pastries, there are tons of fun to be had in the comfort of your home.
Take a Virtual Tour of Famous Landmarks
Did you have to cancel your summer travel plans because of the pandemic or for other reasons? Not to worry, because you can still hit popular destinations all over the world without getting off your couch.
Google Arts and Culture offers 360-degree virtual tours of famous landmarks such as the Palace of Versailles, Machu Picchu, and five US national parks. The online content platform also gives access to artworks and historical artifacts housed in the world’s greatest museums, including the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Louvre has its own virtual tour resources that enable the public to view the museum’s vast collection of Egyptian antiquities and the various exhibits in the Petite Galerie.
Looking for something the whole family can enjoy? Conjure up some Disney magic at home by going on virtual rides. Experience iconic attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean at Shanghai Disneyland and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Tokyo DisneySea via YouTube. You can also catch Mickey, Minnie, and an entire cast of beloved Disney characters in the virtual parade, which you can access through the Disney Parks blog.
Host Game Night
Social media and video conferencing platforms give a fresh twist to game night by allowing more people to join in on the fun, no matter where they might be.
Social networking app Houseparty has built-in games such as Heads Up! and Quick Draw. Meanwhile, Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet have screen sharing capabilities that let multiple users play third-party online games like Quiplash. You and your friends can also download Monopoly, Clue, and other classic board games onto your mobile devices, pick a time to play, and let the fun begin!
And just because you’re self-isolating doesn’t mean you should skip the snacks. Fuel your competitive spirit with your favorites and mix up a cocktail or two to celebrate your victory with. Snacks are especially important if you’re playing with your family at home — your kids will tell you that no game night is complete without them. You can even make nibbles together for more quality time with the family.
Join a Book Club
Whether virtually or in real life, a book club is a fun way to expand your literary horizons as well as your social circle.
Sign up for Goodreads and The Reddit Book Club to join discussions on various works in all genres. There are also several good book groups on social media, such as PureWow’s Book Club on Instagram and Lost in a Good Book on Facebook. You can also start your own virtual book club with your friends or family. Simply pick an online platform where you can meet (try a video conferencing app like Skype or Google Meet, or create a group on Goodreads) and assign a moderator who will keep discussions on track and ensure that everyone participates.
If you prefer in-person book club meetings, make sure to follow social distancing guidelines and other safety measures like wearing a face mask and washing your hands frequently. It’s also a good idea to meet in small groups (maximum of 10 people) and to keep it local (members who come from the same neighborhood or town/city).
Venturing out may be scary these days, but as long as you practice proper social distancing and other safety measures to keep from contracting COVID-19, it’s possible to have some outdoor fun this summer with family and friends.
State and national parks across the country are starting to reopen, which is great news for those who love to camp. But keep in mind that even in the great outdoors, social distancing must be observed, especially when staying at campsites with other people.
In some states, camping is by reservation only to ensure that there aren’t too many visitors at any one time, and playgrounds, picnic areas, swim areas, and other public areas remain closed. There are also parks that require campers to wear face masks.
Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends camping at parks close to home, as traveling long distances can contribute to the further spread of COVID-19. Backyard camping is another option for those who are aching to get out into the wilderness but still worry for their health and safety. It’s arguably not real camping, but you can make it work with a little effort. Break out the chocolate and marshmallows, gather around the fire for scary stories, then lay down on the grass to gaze up at the night sky (the Perseids is at its peak in the predawn hours of August 12 — you wouldn’t want to miss that!).
Take a Nature Walk
The pandemic has left countless people feeling scared and anxious. To keep your mind off your worries, take a nature walk. A recent study showed that walking in nature for at least 40 minutes decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in people experiencing chronic stress. It also improves mood and alleviates negative emotions.
Nature walks are also a good opportunity to learn and maybe even do something good for the environment. Observe and catalog the trees, plants, and animals you see on your walk. You can do this the old-fashioned way with a pen and a notebook, or you can download an app like iNaturalist. You can also plant some trees in the areas you visit or bring some garbage bags along with you so you can pick up any trash lying around.
Explore your town
On your daily drive to and from the office or to pick your kids up from school, you probably take the same route. And if it’s the quickest way to get to where you need to be, why wouldn’t you? The only downside to this is that you’re probably missing out on interesting places in your town or city — places you could explore this summer when things slow down and you have time to spare.
The next time you have to go to the store, take the side streets. They’re usually less crowded than the main drags, so you can relax a little behind the wheel and take in the sights. You may find the houses and buildings along your new route interesting, or you may come across a beautiful little park. Pop by any restaurant, diner, or cafe you see along the way — it may turn out to be the new brunch spot you’ve been looking for.
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