With the weather getting warmer, the days getting longer, and stay-at-home still the norm, it’s no wonder we’re looking to the outdoors as a mini-escape. Whether that means planting a vegetable garden, investing in a water source where you can take a dip (hello blow-up hot tub), or setting up a s’mores station around a firepit, getting outside makes you feel so much better. Read on for more fun ways the #NJMOM squad is taking advantage of their outdoor space.
featured photo @insta.megz
Here’s how to make the most of your yard:
Grow a victory garden
We all know how stressful it is to visit a grocery store or snag a coveted delivery time online, so if you’re sick of trying to score veggies and fruits, make a victory garden. The term was coined around wartime when many Americans planted produce as a way to have food and prevent a shortage, both relevant during the pandemic. Find a patch of the yard or even a bunch of pots and enlist your kiddos to help —it’s a great excuse for them to get their hands dirty and work in some homeschooling science lessons. Curious to get started? Check out Goffle Farms in Ridgewood and Bob’s Garden Center in Egg Harbor Township for tips and planting ideas.
With nicer weather on the horizon, using your patio, deck, or even a grassy area for dining can make your home feel bigger and give you the feeling that you’re in a different space. Make it a point to do it often—have the kids set the table, put on the bbq, and dine alfresco whenever the weather allows.
Let landscaping be a family affair
Like our hair, the grass and bushes outside probably need a good grooming. But this doesn’t require a complicated DIY Youtube tutorial—the whole family can get in on the outdoor chores to make it easier. Whether it’s weeding, trimming a few bushes, cutting the grass, or even just watering some flowers, when you all get in on the action your yard will have a fresh and fab look (and your kids will learn essential life skills).
Make your backyard a playground
With playgrounds still closed, many families are investing in putting in their own swings and slides. If you have one, make recess outdoors just like your kid would have in school. Or get creative with the equipment you have around your house—do a DIY water table by filling a storage bin with water and kitchen tools to play with, fill a large box or wagon with sand, or create an obstacle course with pool noodles, bins, and logs.
Hit the (blow-up) pool
It’s still iffy whether camps or pools will open, so getting wet this summer may be happening right outside your door. Word is that out-of-ground pools and blow-up jacuzzis are hot sellers already (if you spot one on Amazon, can you let us know?). But if you’re budget or space doesn’t allow for that, consider a small kiddie pool, slip-and-slide, or kid-friendly sprinkler—each guarantee hours-long fun that will keep everyone cool when the temps rise.
Set up a firepit
Spending time by a roaring fire as the suns set, roasting marshmallows, or sharing a glass of wine with your S.O—that’s the kind of warm weather night we can get excited about. A fire pit can make your backyard feel like a fancy resort and give you a much-needed respite from spending so much time inside these last few months (not to mention a sweet spot for when you want a date night).
Reboot your patio space
If there’s ever been a time for a patio or deck overhaul, now is the time. You might invest in new furniture but even just rearranging the space, bringing pieces from inside out, or buying new accessories can upgrade your outdoor space and put you in a vacay mood (just add in a fancy cocktail). Use bright colors, plant flowers in pots, and get a few outdoor pillows to make yours feel like an oasis and calm spot to relax in.
Serve picnic lunches during the school day
One of the silver linings of being at home for school is that you can have lunch anytime or anywhere. As the weather gets warmer, make it a point to grab a blanket and pack a picnic lunch (bonus points if the kids make it themselves and pack it up in a bag). It will do wonders to boost your moods and give you and your kids a real break, ready to finish out the distance learning day.
Go camping— in your backyard
Pack up your sleeping bags, pillows, and snacks, bring out some flashlights and set up your tent to have a camp out in your backyard. Bring along a telescope for star spotting, and if you have a fire pit, roast up those s’mores. The best thing about camping at home? You still have a real bathroom and shower.