10 Naturally Fun Ways to Stay Active
By Dianely Luis, Arlington Parks & Recreation
Posted on March 30, 2020, March 30, 2020

Park photo

Arlington Parks are open for play! Although some park structures and facilities are closed, our outdoor spaces can still be enjoyed, but we must remain diligent in taking steps to make your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible.

As we continue to be mindful of social distancing, it is typical to feel that we must stay indoors. However, we believe that many parks, trails and open spaces can continue to be used in a safe manner that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide. In all instances, we recommend visitors follow local, state and national ordinances and guidelines regarding the use of these spaces and recognize that these vary from community to community. 

Keeping all this in mind, here are 10 ways to stay active and enjoy nature with the whole family: 

  1. Glide into a New Adventure: The rainy days have filled up our lakes and rivers, so it is the perfect time to enjoy the sunny spring weather by gliding through sparkling waters on a kayak. Missing your gym workout? With a bit of kayaking, you will get in a good arm workout while taking in some spectacular views. 
  2. Capture a Moment: Photography. With spring is officially here, there are plenty of stunning flowers and greenery to photograph. You can also take this time to photograph your loved ones to capture these moments. Maybe make a game out of this one? 
  3. Find a Feathered Friend: Now that the weather has warmed up, many beautiful birds are migrating back to the area. Spend a day at the park looking for different birds species, and you can even make a little competition of it between the family. If you do not want to leave the comfort of your own home, you can do a “Backyard Bird Count”. Simply sit outside for 15 minutes and record all the birds you see then put your findings into ebird.org This is a fun family activity that also helps advance science and conservation! 
  4. Support a Local Business: To-go picnic. Grab a blanket and order takeout from your favorite local restaurant for an outdoor picnic. In this difficult time, you will be supporting a local business while saving yourself the hassle of prepping and packing a meal for your picnic! 
  5. Make a Map: Take a walk around a park and then have you and your children draw the map of the park including important features and details from your walk. For additional fun, you can go on a treasure hunt using your maps! Hide a special prize somewhere in the park, mark the location on the maps and have the family look for the prize using their maps. Need help finding a park? Check out our park finder.
  6. Preserve a Little Bit of Nature: Keep the little ones busy with a nature hunt. Collect different leaves to press. Luminaria pressed lanterns, bookmarks, coasters. Curious about the plants you gathered? There are plenty of free apps that can help you identify your flora gatherings! 
  7. Break a Sweat: Create an outdoor obstacle course in your own yard to get you and your family’s blood pumping! You can use whatever you have at home to create your own course. You can tie string in different patterns between two chairs to create “lasers” you must weave through; set up small pieces of cardboard as the safe steps over “hot lava”; the possibilities are endless. Use your imagination and be as creative as you can! This is a great alternative to keep the kids active and entertained without having to use a playground. 
  8. Spread Kindness: Chalk your sidewalk with encouraging messages and art for neighbors to see. In this time of social distancing, this is a creative way to stay connected to your community and come together in a time when we all need a little positivity. 
  9. Camp Comfortably: Enjoy a night of camping from the comfort of your own backyard. If you have a tent and sleeping bags, set them up in the backyard; but if you don’t have camping supplies, you can use a tarp and blankets to set up camp! Use your grill for some camp cooking: roast hotdogs, toast marshmallows, or cook up some yummy veggie skewers. The spring weather is perfect for a night outdoors, so you and the family can enjoy stargazing (and maybe even spot a shooting star!). 
  10. Find Your Center: If you are feeling stressed, try doing outdoor yoga to destress and grow your appreciation for our planet. Studies have shown that being surrounded by nature has a correlation with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, so combining yoga with the great outdoors can help you relax. Get your little ones involved, and even your pup can join you for yoga (though your pup may outshine you doing the downward dog position). Check out our latest yoga session with Carmen from Cliff Nelson Recreation Center!
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