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The pandemic made for an unusual summer and left many of us a bit starved for human interaction. For college students especially it's been difficult not being able to hang out in a normal way with friends.
The coronavirus is still with us, but now that fall is here, we have a golden opportunity to take advantage of the weather (not too hot, not too cold) for some safe, outdoor, COVID-friendly activities.
Here are eight ways to spend fun, socially distanced time with your friends this fall — perfect for students, and their families, too!
Now that fall is officially here, there are so many new things in season. Why not take the opportunity to look for a local orchard or flower garden to visit with friends? Many will offer fresh picked fruit or flowers, as well as amazing locally made products like honey or jams! It's time to take advantage of our local farms and orchards as we all look for new outdoor activities.
Pumpkin carving season is almost upon us and there's no better way to find the base for your Jack-o-Lantern than at a pumpkin patch! Many will also offer other activities such as farm animals, corn mazes, or even a hayride. Check out what your local pumpkin patches offer and find the one that sounds the most fun for you and your friends. After all, nothing screams fall like a pumpkin patch!
Find a restaurant with outdoor seating to enjoy with your friends. Be sure to wear masks when you're not eating and drinking, and most especially when indoors or in close proximity to people. Besides supporting local businesses, it's also a great way for you to explore your college town.
It's easy to keep a safe social distance while playing paintball, and it's an awesome way to pass a day with friends! Make sure to pick an outdoor venue to further minimize risk and keep your mask on whenever possible. Most importantly, let loose and have fun — come up with team names, convince everyone to dress up in funny costumes and really get into it!
Now that the weather has cooled off a bit, this is a great time to explore some new campsites with friends. Be sure not to share tents with people outside your household and space tents at least six feet apart. Bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant for commonly touched surfaces and avoid sharing food and drink if possible.
Though we’re all familiar with the concept of drive-in movies, drive-in concerts are new to most. It seems to be a COVID-19 development, but many people have been attending outdoor concerts in their cars! Scout out events near you and make a night of it. Have friends from other households drive separately and find spots together so you can share the fun — and don’t forget the snacks!
Find a local park somewhere scenic and invite all your friends! Everyone can bring their own blankets, food and drinks and spread out to spend the day together. If you’re looking to mix it up a little, why not bring along some art supplies or lawn games, too? Things like cornhole, KanJam and spikeball are fun COVID-friendly games. If you want to get fancier, set up a putt putt golf game near your picnic area!
This classic autumn activity will look different this year, no question about it. Some college football conferences aren't playing this fall, while on other campuses attendance at games will be strictly limited.
That doesn't mean we have to miss out on the traditional fun. If you can't attend a game in person, invite friends to your yard, a park, even a parking lot. Pack up a BBQ grill, picnic food or takeout from a local restaurant — and of course as much tailgate decor as you can muster (banners, blankets, hats and more). Don't forget chairs and a speaker to play music!
While it's important to take the necessary precautions and be respectful of social distancing guidelines right now, it’s equally important to take care of yourself — and that means socializing. With a little extra effort and creativity, we can still find fun ways to hang out with friends and this will do wonders to keep isolation and loneliness at bay.
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