As we look ahead to summer, many families are starting to ask: What can we do this year? We know outdoor activities are considered safer than indoor ones, but even so, surely some activities are safer than others? Here’s our round-up of summer sports, from safest to safe-ish to reeeeally-not-so-safe.
Tennis, ping pong, badminton: You get the idea. These are the kind of sports you play while standing far apart, using individual rackets or paddles. Mask up, but as long as you’re playing these games outdoors, they’re a very good bet for some safe summer fun.
Cycling, rollerskating, scootering. Similarly, it’s hard not to maintain some distance while riding bikes or other wheeled activities.
Yoga. Set a mat or towel on the grass and get stretching.
Track and field. Again, as long as everyone is wearing a mask, any kind of outdoor running or jumping activity is great.
Baseball and softball. We like these because distancing is naturally enforced, and players don’t usually clump up together. Since the kids will still tag each other as they round the bases, and there can be shared equipment, it doesn’t quite make our “safest” category.
Gymnastics. Outdoor cartwheeling is of course the safest option, but if your kid wants to tumble at an indoor gym, look for one with good air circulation and where everyone is adhering to proper mask use. And skip the locker room—change clothes at home so you can avoid these tight, shared spaces.
Swimming. If your local public pool is opening this year, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe to take a dip. It depends a lot on the setting. A chlorinated pool does a great job of killing germs, so Covid isn’t spreading through water. If you’re outdoors and able to swim or dive with plenty of distance from others, go for it. A crowded pool with lots of kids shouting, unmasked, in each other’s faces? We’d skip it.
“Whatever type of activity you’re into, outdoor play, as much space as possible, small groups, individual (or frequently cleaned) equipment, and of course masks at all times go a long way toward keeping everyone as safe as possible.”
Proceed With Caution
Soccer. If the kids are just kicking a soccer ball back and forth or working on their individual soccer skills, go ahead and move this one up to the “Safest” category. But if they want to play a real game, make sure everyone is properly masked and encourage them to give each other more space than they usually would while they’re guarding each other. Of course, outdoor play is a given for safety.
Basketball. We all want to play basketball, but it’s hard to play without spending a fair amount of time in other players’ close personal space. As with soccer, if the kids are just playing Around the World or working on their layup and no one is getting close to each other, you can move this activity to the “Safest” category. But if they want to play for real, keep the teams small and make sure everyone keeps their masks on at all times. The more space they can give each other on and off the court, the better.
Save It for Next Year
Wrestling. Unless it’s only among siblings. In which case, carry on.
Bobbing for apples. Okay, it’s usually only played at Halloween anyway. But in general, putting your open mouth in shared bowls of water is...not recommended. These kids are cute, though.
If you’re still not sure what to play or not play this summer, here’s a helpful roundup from Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., and here are some tips from the CDC. Whatever type of activity you’re into, outdoor play, as much space as possible, small groups, individual (or frequently cleaned) equipment, and of course masks at all times go a long way toward keeping everyone as safe as possible.
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