After a season of social distancing, which may have been experienced primarily indoors, the call of summer is bringing many people outside. Residents of Bethesda Gardens in Monument may want to get out to spend time with others or simply get some fresh air and sunshine for physical and mental health reasons. Here are five activities you can do outdoors even while maintaining 6-feet social distances from others.
Grab a few planters and seedlings from a local nursery or order some online, and you can get a small container garden going right out of your window or door. Or, ask about gardening in the community and whether you can be a part of helping bring things to life on the grounds.
Gardening offers many potential benefits, including some light exercise and time in nature. You can also do it with friends, who can work in beds a few meters away.
Whether you've been drawing your entire life or you can barely manage stick people, observational drawing is a rewarding and fun activity. One of the best places to collect your experiences in graphite is in the great outdoors. The natural lighting and meditative atmosphere of open air could have you drawing for hours, losing track of time along with any stresses that might be weighing on you.
The best part of this activity is that you can treat your sketchbook as a journal, never showing anyone the contents. This privacy lets you enjoy drawing without any anxiety over what people will think or how good you are at it.
Drawing outside also provides some interesting social-distancing-compliant event ideas. One way you can enjoy the outdoors with loved ones from afar is to set up an online drawing scavenger hunt. All you need to do is contact all the friends and family you think would be interested and give them a list of what to find and draw. Then, you can leave the floor open to anyone who wants to share their favorite drawing with the group.
Music takes on a different life when it escapes walls. It's joined by the wind and rustling grasses and drifts away into broad skies instead of reflecting in little rooms. You can enjoy music in many ways. If you want to create your own music, take your preferred instrument for a walk. If you want to simply relax and listen to your favorite songs, bring a Bluetooth speaker and mobile device or a boombox.
You don't have to already play an instrument to make music in nature. There are many instruments that are easy to learn and not too expensive. For nature walks, a small flute or recorder is usually best. Many flutes are designed to only play notes from a certain key, which is perfect if you want to start playing without much practice, as any notes you play will sound good together.
If you're feeling more inclined to the listening side of this activity, you may want to consider investing in a few pieces of tech to fully enjoy the experience. There are many speaker and headphone options that connect to your phone. If you're going to be in public areas with many people, headphones or earbuds may be best so you aren't forcing everyone else to listen to your music. But if you're gathering with friends in an open outdoor space, you might want a speaker to add ambience to the event (and potentially inspire some social-distance dancing).
Reading can be a great activity to engage in outside whether you're going it alone or sitting with friends. Remember to wear a hat and clothing that covers your arms or legs or invest in a good sunscreen. Sit in the shade when you can. It can be easy to get caught up in a good book and not realize how much time you've been sitting in the sun!
If you want a more active social outdoor option, consider some games that let you compete with others without breaking the 6-foot social-distancing barrier. Horseshoes and corn hole are both good options. However, if you engage in these games, remember that you're touching the same playing pieces that others are. Avoid touching your face when playing and wash your hands or use sanitizer immediately after the game is done.
Golf, disc golf, croquette and ring toss are all options with similar benefits. And if you gather a small group in one of the outdoor seating areas at the assisted living community, you can even play games such as charades, which don't require anyone to be near other people.
Ultimately, having fun outdoors is limited only by your own creativity. And if you need help finding ways to enjoy the outdoors during social distancing, reach out to the Bethesda Gardens assisted living staff for recommendations or assistance setting up activities.