Summer Survival Series Part 4: Outdoor Activities
We’ve all been cooped up for several months now, so for part 4 of our Summer Survival series, we’re focusing on getting out of the house and exploring the beauty (and affordability!) of the great outdoors. Read on for more — and let us know if there are any places or activities you love that help your kiddos recharge and reset!
In the Yard
There are so many wonderful ways to spend time in the yard. If you have a projector, a backyard movie night is a special treat your children can look forward to all week. Or maybe this is the summer you finally invest in a trampoline. Grab some sidewalk chalk and try out some of these outdoor play activities to help develop gross motor skills. And check out the websites below for more ideas:
- PE Central: Physical Education Lesson Plans and Activity Ideas
This link directs to PE Central’s at-home physical exercise activities, which are PDFs that contain activities for students that will engage both mind and body, arranged by age and ability. Examples include fitness hangman, fitness bingo, adapted ring toss, and activities to do in a limited space.
- Age range: Preschool to Grade 12
- Cost: FREE
- Planting seeds in the garden can help promote fine motor dexterity while offering stress relief. Creating sensory bins filled with seeds, soil, and other natural elements is a wonderful way to incorporate sensory integration into a child’s day. Using seeds to create a mosaic is a fun method of creating art and working on fine motor skills.
Trails and Gardens
There are many options for getting some fresh air while maintaining physical distancing. Here are some accessible choices that offer paved trails, open spaces, and a chance to explore as a family. Insider tip: If you can go early on weekdays, there should be fewer crowds.
- LA River Glendale Narrows
This one-mile riverwalk is on the north bank of the Los Angeles River between Riverside Drive and Zoo Drive and the Verdugo Wash. Its paved trail is lined with native California trees and shrubs, seating areas, and a public art installation inspired by stop-motion animation. As a Special X parent pointed out, “The path is remarkably cool with the breeze off the water!” How to access the trail:
- Paula Ave./Garden St. (1300 Garden St., Glendale, CA 91201)
- Flower St./Fairmont Ave. (908 Flower St., Glendale, CA 91201)
- Parking: There is a parking lot at Paula Ave./Garden St., Glendale, CA 91201
- Descanso Gardens
Descanso Gardens is a beautiful oasis in the heart of the La Canada/Flintridge hills. Filled with paved trails that take you through wild and manicured gardens, this is a wonderful escape from the city. Information about their accessibility can be found here. Wheelchairs are currently not available to rent. Right now, you must make a reservation for a timed visit, and families must maintain physical distancing, wear masks, and bring their own water. Picnics can be eaten in the courtyard and outer picnic areas, and the cafe is open for cashless dining. Restrooms are cleaned every 30 minutes.
- Tickets: Timed tickets are released every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. for the following week. Members can visit any time. Tickets cannot be purchased at the entrance.
- Address: 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 9101
- Phone: (818) 949-420
- Cost: General admission $15; seniors 65 and over and students with ID $11; children 5 to 12 years $5; Descanso members and children under 5 are free.
- Los Angeles Arboretum
The L.A. Arboretum contains sprawling gardens and a wildlife haven in Arcadia. Kids can enjoy watching peacocks, looking at waterfalls, and exploring an antique train depot. Trails are paved for most of the gardens. Information on accessibility can be found here. Wheelchairs are currently not available to rent. Like Descanso Gardens, masks are required, you must bring your own water, and the cafe is open for grab-and-go food. No outside food is allowed.
- Tickets: Tickets must be purchased in advance for timed entry.
- Address: 301 North Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007
- Phone: (626) 821-3222
- Cost: General admission $15; students with ID and seniors age 62 and older $11; children 5 to 12 years $5; members and children 4 and under are free.
This user-updated Google map is a great reference for the most up-to-date information on beaches that provide wheelchair accessibility. The map shows which beaches are open at this time and what kind of access they provide. Currently, only Dockweiler Youth Center is offering beach wheelchair rentals, and they must be reserved in advance. The beautiful beachside Marvin Braude Bike Trail (also known as “The Strand”) is wheelchair accessible and starts to the north at Will Rogers State Beach on Pacific Coast Highway and State Route 1 (Los Angeles) and at Via Riviera and Paseo de la Playa (Torrance) to the south.
All L.A. County beaches will be closed from Friday, July 3, at 12:01 a.m. through Monday, July 6, at 5:00 a.m. Closures include beach bike paths, accessways, piers, and parking lots. Keep checking the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors for the latest info on closures.