It is the 14th day my family and I have self-quarantined due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Though it is a gorgeous, sunny day, and I, as the extrovert of the family am bouncing off the walls to get outside, my homebody-son is not.
My 3-year-old son is actually thriving in this new social-distancing era. He loves to stay at home and play trains and trucks and that’s about it. We do get outside most days but, to be honest, he’s a little bored with my usual arsenal of outdoor ideas and requires extra coaxing just to get dressed.
I know I’m not alone here. At this point, everyone is running out of creative ideas (and wine…am I, right mamas?!). So, here are some of the things we’ve been doing to stay motivated to get outside every day!
Toy Scavenger Hunt
My son loves animals, especially night animals, so I took all of his tiny figurines outside and hid them in our yard. When I told him he had to come outside to find them because they were hiding, it blew his little mind. He kept asking to do it again and again and we spent at least an hour outside in the sunshine. There are endless possibilities like this that can be done right outside your door. Pro Tip: Count all of the pieces before hiding them so you don’t lose any and anything with bright colors is best. We had a hard time finding the grey wolf, brown bison and tan elk in our neutral colored yard.
Nature Is Not Canceled
Though Hike it Baby hikes are on hold for the moment that doesn’t mean you can’t do your own. I am big on structure in order to make my day go smoothly. With the hiatus of groups like Hike it Baby, my days are left with gaping holes of time that I struggle to fill unless I have a plan. It helps me to schedule out time in my planner for a hike or outdoor time just as I would for a Hike it Baby gathering. In fact, this is the perfect time to participate in the Hike it Baby 30 Challenge. It’s a great motivator to get outside for 30 miles or 30 minutes 3 times a week in the month of April. Sign up now!
Mix It Up
We are creatures of habit and even though this is a new and bizarre situation, at this point we have acclimated and have a routine. Around the same time every day, I start to get antsy and want to get outside and thus begin the cajoling, begging and bribing of my son to get dressed and come outside with me. However, I’ve found going out at different times of day helps a lot. Try going for a walk at sunrise or sunset. Make note of the different colors in the sky, the animals, the way the air feels. If your child stays up late enough try stargazing.
Set Up An Obstacle Course
I don’t know about you, but I think everything is more fun with an obstacle course (and fake lava or alligators). Social distancing makes our options pretty limited and I find myself visiting the same neighborhood trails over and over again. Adding obstacles to jump over, skip around, roll into or even throw can make the same old hike way more interesting for the little ones.
If you have any ideas for staying motivated to get outside I’d love to hear them because, as you know, we are in this together! Help a mama out!
While we are pausing in-person hikes for the time being for the safety and health of our communities, be sure to check out the virtual hikes and activities happening in your Hike it Baby branch Facebook group. Learn more about hosting a virtual hike here!
About Hike it Baby
Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Scheider.