Temperatures this week are in the upper 90s. Around here the pools, lakes, and spray parks are closed, but even if they are opening where you are, with new cases of COVID on the rise, you may be looking for ways to play it cool at home. Here are a few outdoor activities for hot weather.
Put it on Ice. These way cool activities did not come with a warning that prolonged direct contact with ice on the skin can cause tissue damage. Well, it can. Please read this first and provide tools and supervision!
Ice Dying could be especially fun for older children and teens.
Water Balloon Mayhem. “What? Balloons,” you may be saying. “Do you know the harm they can do to the environment?” Yes. Here are three options for eco-friendly balloons that may work better than conventional ones anyway.
So if you are well supplied with eco-friendly balloons, how ’bout a very wet game of volleyball?
Put away your device for the best game of Angry Birds ever!
Spray it On. The spray parks may be closed, but that can’t stop the good times. Please combine fun and environmental stewardship. Play near a garden in need of watering. Set a time limit on activities involving running water and maybe add a valve to the nozzle of your hose.
Grab a squirt gun or any squirt toy for some games that won’t dampen your spirits.
Playing in the hose is classic kid fun. You can change it up a little by making it a game of tag or water limbo .
Okay, this may be for people with too much time and PVC piping on their hands but I couldn’t resist the PVC spray park. Could this be made with enough flexibility that the kids could develop design skills by changing things up some? Maybe some valves and movable parts?
Of course, you can’t ride a bike if you don’t know how. Because one of my children had significant gross motor and motor planning challenges, his physical therapist recommended a no training wheels method of learning to ride. We ended up using this method with both children because it was so easy. I’ve posted two videos showing this approach. Although it is not mentioned here, we found trying this on a surface with a very slight incline allowed them to coast further without peddles, using that time to focus on just learning to steer.
There’s a lot more to riding a bike than just knowing how. Everyone, no matter how long they’ve been riding, could use an occasional review of bicycle safety.
Now you just need a place to ride. Virginia Bike Trails offers statewide suggestions, including several in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area.
But what if bicycling isn’t so much about going some place as it is about doing stuff? Here are some interesting things kids can do on bike’s without going far from home. Some of these activities might stand just a little tweaking for social distancing.
How will you spend Memorial Day Week-end with pools and parks closed, and social distancing guidelines still in place? A Texas website has a blog post on this question. Most of the suggestions work anywhere, but a few are specific to Texas, so if you’re looking to safely get out of the house here in Charlottesville/Albemarle, The Rivanna Trails , Claudius Crozet Park and Ivy Creek Natural Area grounds are among just a few local natural areas reopening. George Washington and Jefferson are opening some trail-heads today. If you do go out, plan for restrooms and other facilities, such as play areas to be closed.
Whether you visit a natural area or observe Memorial Day at home, Monday will be a beautiful day for a picnic. But it will be an even better day with farm fresh strawberries! Read about how local pick-your-own farms are adapting to social distancing. Due to the limited number of people allowed in farms at a time, it’s a good idea to check on the best time to arrive. You may also be interested in learning about curbside sales.
So what are you going to do with all those strawberries? You might try some of these kid friendly treats such as homemade fruit roll-ups and strawberry oatmeal bars.
Once you’ve acquired a taste for fresh strawberries, you’ll be pleased to know how easy they are to grow at home in containers. And even better news: there are varieties of strawberries that you can grow from spring into early fall. You’ll get the highest yield in a short time with June-bearing strawberries (they begin producing in May in Central Virginia.) Other varieties will keep you nibbling for months. Check with area garden stores about safe pick-ups for June-bearing, everbearing, and day-neutral strawberry plants.
It seems there’s an infinite number of ways to create gardens out of recycled soda bottles. I remember a project we did when I taught elementary school that involved two 2 liter bottles, cut and reassembled to create multiple layers, with an aquarium on the bottom and a terrarium at top. I could not find that exact set of instructions, but this Soda Bottle Ecosystem comes closest, the only real difference being that it uses 3 bottles. This will require some adult supervision, due to the use of an Exacto Knife.
A very similar method is used to create a Hydroponic Garden.Hydroponic gardens grow plants without soil. While the systems can be quite complex, involving special equipment, this is a simple system you can create at home. After looking over these materials, try entering “hydroponic”, “aquaponic,” and “soda bottle” in your search engine for some more ideas, including vertical gardens.”
This video shows how to grow a rain forest in a garden. You might want to add a little clear packing tape when you join the two pieces. What other ideas do you have for a soda bottle terrarium?
These are just three ideas from a multitude of possibilities. Have a look at this Pinterest Board for more ideas for reusing soda bottles to create magical gardens.
Chalk Magic. We’re continuing the sidewalk chalk theme from a couple of weeks back, because we’ve been introduced to some astounding new materials. Because it is an incredibly beautiful spring day, and many people are celebrating Easter, we are giving this a page a spring theme, with additional ideas for those who are celebrating Easter today. But first, just enjoy this video of a stunning chalk artist.
Follow the link above to get some for chalk art that you can add yourself to. Our Easter challenge for those who celebrate this holiday: hide real Easter eggs in your drawings. Send your friends pictures and see if they can find them.