Summer Staycations

By Cathy Austin

Or, how to holiday at home during covid times! Seriously, we saw this coming, right? Holidaying at home all summer, like, right at home with side jaunts to the park (small groups) or a short drive (not cottage country) or walking the heck out of your neighbourhood sidewalks, maybe a bike ride or two with the immediate fam.

We can do this, let’s begin:

How to have a picnic: Litterless is ideal during a pandemic and we all have plastic reusable containers in our cupboards. Boil a few eggs, make up egg salad sammies, add some fruit and snack bars, juice boxes, paper towels or even better, wet wipes for cleaning up your hands after eating. Add a freezer pack to keep it all chill. Easy so far, yes? Pop your eats into a back pack and designate a carrier, mom or dad or the oldest sibling. Pack up another backpack with a frisbee, blankie, ball, whatever. You’re ready to go. Lace up the sneaks and head over to your local park keeping the 6ft apart thing from others and enjoy the outdoors. If you go on foot, even better and of course, at the time of this writing, larger groups and actually sitting in the park having a picnic has not been okayed but it’s early days and bound to happen. (There’s a lot more ‘opening’ news to come in the days ahead, stay tuned to your news stations for updates.)

Should the actual sitting thing not happen, well, head out to your backyard, set up your blankie and picnic there. It’s all good fun.

More backyard fun: sprinklers! Swimming is not in the cards this summer so go old school and have a blast in your swimsuit playing in the sprinkler! No matter how old you are, nothing beats a spray of water on a hot summer’s day!

Summer snacks: All that sprinkler fun works up a hunger for some fun eats like cheesies, popcorn, popsicles (make your own), cookies (if you can find flour, make up a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip or whatever your fave is) and banana bread (my fave), twizzlers and more, yummy!

Now if it’s a rainy day, have your picnic inside, make a tent out of bedsheets (old ones are perfect) in the living room or rec room and pretend you’re at the park. There’s no end to imaginings!

Helping out in the garden: Watering, weeding, watching butterflies and bees, there’s always things to do when you have garden plants to enjoy. And if you have veggies growing, even more fun watching them get bigger and ready to eat!

During these pandemic days when all activities are on hold, like camps, try going to a virtual camp online. Check out the or for ideas of daily events sure to be happening around town.

Camp Ooch is hosting a virtual daily camp this summer, details to come.

You can still run or jog, cycle (helmets, of course), walk all in keeping with the social distancing guidelines. The outdoors will be a busy place this July and August so be mindful of others, don’t pet dogs along the way or hang too close to others when crossing the street at corners.

Doctor Bonnie Henry, BC’s health officer has coined the ‘Fewer faces...bigger spaces’ as we emerge out of our homes. Just be aware of everyone around you, stay the 6 ft apart and wear a mask if there are more people than you feel comfortable with at a park–go another day at another time perhaps. With malls closed (for now) there’s lots of space to walk and ride a bike which is great if you are a learner!

We can certainly make our own fun outdoors these summer months during covid, just look how we’ve managed to do all the right things to keep us all safe so far! So there’s no trains or planes or boats to take us anywhere, no worries, we can go by pedal, foot or car.

Summer this year will be like no other but we’ll still have sunshine, warmth, our close family to staycay with: we’ll be okay!