After more than 2 months of quarantining, and now that the warmer weather is here, the kids are probably getting antsy, wanting to spend more and more time outside. Of course, when it's a rainy day and you don't want to splash in the puddles (what kid doesn't, though?), you can always turn to our favorite virtual activities (livestream zoos and aquariums, online museum tours, and documentaries the whole family will love). If you've already exhausted your stash of sidewalk chalk and bubbles and the backyard play equipment just isn't doing it anymore for the kids, try one of these ideas to get kids active and getting out all that extra energy! Just remember: Follow proper safety and social-distancing guidelines.
Go rollerblading. Inline skating, so popular when we were young(er), is still a great source of physical activity, and the leading brand of inline skates that became synonymous with the sport, Rollerblade, makes equipment that grows with your child. Besides donning a helmet and proper pads, first-time skaters must be patient while learning how to rollerblade, start with a smooth surface, and understand that it’s okay to fall (they will!).
Create an obstacle course. Have the kids assemble their own obstacle course in the backyard or a small area of your local park. They’ll expend energy plotting what to use and setting up the course. Your young architects will be motivated to prove their prowess and conquer the course they built—then beat their own records.
Have a Hula-Hoop marathon.
Play flashlight tag. This no-touch form of tag is a great option nowadays, and you can play as a family. While there are a lot of variations, this method is best for social distancing. At dusk or just after dark—if you don't mind the kids staying up a little later on the weekend or during the summer—gather outside with a flashlight for each person. One person is it, while the others hide. The person who's it (the only one who can use a flashlight at this point) must find the hiders by shining their flashlight on each person. Once a person is found, they should sit out in the open until everyone is found. Then a new person is it. For a fast-paced game, rather than have one person be it (the seeker) until everyone is found, whoever is found first becomes the seeker, switching off who's it very quickly.
Have a limbo contest. Crank up the tunes, grab a long stick, and find out how low the kids can go!
Build backyard castles. Forget a treehouse (that becomes a job for Dad and Mom). Challenge the children to construct a castle out of boxes from the recycling pile and found objects. Rainy day? Gather all the blankets and pillows you can find, and turn your brood loose on building their fort inside. Putting a cushion castle together will eat up a good chunk of time, and leave them just worn out enough to retreat to their masterpiece hideaway for a while.
Dance the day away. Pump up the jams and ask your kids to make up their own dance. They’ll flex their physical and creative muscles coming up with fun (possibly wacky) dance moves. See if they can mimic some of your moves…then see if you can learn theirs. Who knows, maybe it'll become the next TikTok dance craze!
Go for a bike ride. Pedal hard with a family bike ride around your neighborhood or a local track. Teach your kids about bike safety before your outing and make sure your kids have properly fitting helmets.
Set up a relay race! Nothing get kids amped up more than a competition with their sibling. So set up a few activities your kids need to complete to win the race. Need some ideas? Egg races, hopscotch, sack race, pop a balloon, dribble a basketball, jump rope, and do a little dance.
Take a hike. Explore some of the best—and most family-friendly—hiking spots in the New York metro area. Just be sure to call first to ensure the trails are still open during quarantine.
Go for a dip in your backyard pool, if you have one. Swimming is a crucial life skill that also helps to build strength. A dip in the pool and a game of Marco Polo are great, but to wear the kids out you’ll need goggles and an abundance of energy—think relay races, dropping plastic fish on the bottom for them to retrieve, and water dancing.
Plan a scavenger hunt! Create a list of items your kids need to find in your backyard or while on your walk around the neighborhood. Some ideas? Find a red flower, spot a car with a 9 in the license plate, try find a bug, find a rock that looks like a heart, spot a rainbow in a window, and spot some sidewalk chalk artwork!