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Fun, Safe Social Distancing Ideas for Summer

“Fun social distancing” might seem like a contradiction. Much like, “delicious upset stomach medicine” or “delightful colonoscopy,” the concept of enjoying yourself during a pandemic isn’t intuitive. 

Of course, when it comes to a sense of community with those around you, nothing beats the real thing (to borrow a phrase). However, the military and veteran community is pretty experienced when it comes to creative ways to show up for each other in difficult times.

In that spirit, here are some ideas for fun social distancing during the summer months.

Sidewalk Chalk Obstacle Courses

Even if you decide not to go this route, you could still pass a fair amount of time trying to say “sidewalk chalk obstacle” three times fast. Go ahead. Try it.

This idea is fun from beginning to end. First, you have to plan the obstacles (commands can be as basic as, “Stand on one foot,” or you can make them as advanced as you like!). Next, drawing and writing out the course on your sidewalk can be an enjoyable family activity. Finally, you get to watch each other try to actually master all of the obstacles!

Get as creative as you want: include trampolines, ball tosses, skateboards. Anything that gets everyone outside, moving, and having fun!

Front Yard Cookout

In honor of National Cookout Month last month, and in recognition of the various nationwide COVID-19 safety measures, Oscar Mayer proclaimed May 2nd the great Front Yard Cookout. America’s hot dog royalty encouraged folks to get out in their front yards and grill out together from a distance. 

While National Cookout Month may be over, it doesn’t mean you can’t put out an invite on your neighborhood or building social media page. You and your neighbors can catch up, chat, and enjoy a meal together from your respective safely-distanced spots. 

Heck, if your neighbors are down, maybe you could even have a socially-distanced hot dog eating contest!

Gardening

This one is great at almost any age. Gardening gets people outside, it puts you in touch with nature, it’s exercise, and then there’s the satisfaction of watching the fruits of your labor grow. 

Of course, there’s a theory that this might be a very good time to boost your Vitamin D levels, but either way, it’s hard to argue with the benefits of a little fresh air and sunshine.

Make a Bird Feeder

This one can be basic: your standard preschool project of pinecone + peanutbutter + birdseed is always a hit with kids.

Adults and older kids may prefer something a little more challenging. If you don’t already know, you can begin by researching common birds in your area. Find out what they eat, and if anyone else has attempted bird feeders for them. 

Sometimes you can buy a specific feeder to attract certain kinds of birds. Most places in the US have hummingbirds, for example. You can make your own hummingbird nectar, and then spend your summers watching these small avian wonders flock to your home!

Group Watch a Movie

Of course, sometimes you just want to sit inside and enjoy the air conditioning. Since many movie theaters are closed right now, you’ll have to think outside the box to enjoy watching something with your friends.

Have you ever texted a friend or group chat about a movie or TV show you were watching? The Netflix Party Chrome extension lets you bring that experience into real time. 

Sync your latest binge watch or an old favorite, and message away with the squad (or relatives you can’t see right now). Add an extra twist: pick a cheesy older movie and have some fun joking around!

Make it a real movie night with popcorn, nachos, and candy. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.

Fun Social Distancing

It may seem like right now, there are no good options.  Perhaps we failed to internalize the prophetic words of the Beastie Boys: “You gotta fight for your right to party.” 

We can still heed their wisdom; it’s not too late. 

Until the true good times we all remember can return in some form, we’ll have to take care of ourselves and look out for each other. And we’ll have to make our own fun.