It’s been over a month since the City of Kingston declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and staying entertained is getting more and more difficult.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of pandemic-safe activities (providing everyone adheres to physical distancing guidelines and only participates with others from their own household). But we thought it would be nice to look at activities that can help make Kingston shine, put smiles on the faces of others, and warm the hearts of those who do them and those who benefit from them.
No matter what you get up to this weekend, the most important things to remember are to stay home as much as possible (or ensure you’re physically distancing when you are out), stay safe, and stay connected to one another.
Paint and ‘hide’ rocks
You may have noticed painted rocks of all shapes and sizes popping up all over the city. Interestingly, this isn’t a new initiative – in fact, the Facebook group Kingston Rocks has been around since 2018, documenting where people have found or left painted rocks with little messages or pictures intended to bring a smile to the faces of those who see them. But since the pandemic hit our area, this idea has really taken off, with individuals and families making bright, colourful, and happy little creations to leave along trails, in parks, and even near businesses and public buildings. The current situation has seen many painted rocks appearing near our hospitals, thanking healthcare workers for all they do, or sending out messages of hope and strength.
It’s a simple, thoughtful, and inexpensive way to brighten up Kingston, and stay connected to the community at a time when we’re all at home as much as possible.
It’s no secret Kingston is rich in history, and this is an easy way to combine education and the outdoors in a pandemic-safe manner. The City of Kingston offers a number of ‘guided tours’ with maps and full written descriptions of what you’ll see on your walk. These guided walks are also available to download on the Google Play or Apple apps.
Alternatively, the Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour History Project not only offers a great glimpse into the history of that area, but a number of historic photographs. A fun family project with those photos is trying to locate the exact spot the photos were taken and note what has changed and what remains the same.
Or for those who like to fall down the rabbit holes the internet is rife with, pick a location in Kingston you’ve always wondered about and challenge your household to find as much information as possible about it online. Some good resources for that idea would be the Kingston Frontenac Public Library and Queen’s University Archives (Google will always turn something up, but trying to separate fact from fiction can be a project all of its own).
Try out a new local business
We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has had harsh economic impacts, and one way to help stimulate our local economy is by supporting local businesses. While we cannot venture out to stores, services, or restaurants right now, there are a number of local businesses that are offering free delivery of the products, with items ranging from arts and crafts projects, to virtual escape rooms.
Check out our list of local businesses offering free delivery during the pandemic here.
Have a night out at home
As the pandemic has continued, a number of local restaurants have adapted their services and are now offering curbside pick-up and/or delivery services. And as a bonus for the adults, restaurants are now permitted to deliver beer, wine, and alcohol! Whether it’s a date night for two or a family dinner, get out the candles and the linens, put on some of your favourite music, and serve one another some of the best eats available locally! While supporting local businesses, you can change up your regular routine, too – have parents act as servers for the children and then switch it up and have the kids serve mom and dad, or get everyone to order something different so everyone around the table can try something new!
Check out a huge list of restaurants offering takeout and delivery during the pandemic via Vist Kingston here.
Brighten up the sidewalks
Similar to painting rocks, sidewalk chalk has become a preferred medium for sharing messages and art during the pandemic. I don’t know about everyone else, but when I’m walking my dogs and stumble upon a huge mural of multi-coloured drawings and messages, I can’t help but smile. It’s a simple, inexpensive way to spend some time as a family, or let the kids go wild inside their imaginations.
Additionally, sidewalk chalk can be used to create games to play yourself, and leave for others to try as they pass by! Dial up your hopscotch game to 2.0 with new instructions or super-long games that challenge people to look silly while having some fun – an easy way to inject a little joy into everyone’s day.
Kingstonist and Dentistry at Kingston’s kids’ art contest
While we’re on the theme of being artistic, this weekend is your last chance to enter our kids’ art contest! Thanks to our friends at Dentistry at Kingston, this contest aims to share some love and support for our hardworking healthcare workers, while also raising funds for local hospitals. Parents of kids 12 and under are invited to submit their child’s artwork to [email protected], and Dentistry at Kingston has pledged to donate $10 for each piece of artwork submitted to the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (up to $1,000).
Then, on Monday, May 4, 2020, we will upload all the artwork to our Facebook page where the two pieces that get the most ‘likes’ will earn the artists a $50 gift card for Domino’s Pizza, thanks to Dentistry at Kingston! Be sure to like and follow both Kingstonist and Dentistry at Kingston on Facebook to qualify.
It might not sound like a ton of fun, but even 10 minutes of cleaning up litter in your neighbourhood can make a huge difference. Challenge others in your household to see who can collect the most garbage in a set amount of time, or simply bring along some gloves and a trash bag when you’re out for walk. If anyone asks what you’re doing, let them know you’re showing some love for your neighbourhood, and, with any luck, it’ll catch on! This can also include removing debris from rainwater catch basins to help keep your area flood free during the spring showers, or removing expired posters, etc. from hydro poles or light poles. You have to remember to stay safe when doing so, but putting in a little effort to get your neighbourhood in shape for summer can go a long way.
Check in on neighbours
We are by no means suggesting that anyone break physical distancing guidelines, but during the pandemic, it is important to show love and support for those around us. Have a neighbour you haven’t seen in a few days? Drop a note in their mailbox wishing them well and asking if they need anything picked up the next time you’re grocery shopping. Getting a little over-zealous with the pandemic baking? Safely package up some bread or baked goods and leave them on your neighbours’ doorsteps for a nice surprise.
When we’re all staying home as much as possible, a smile and a wave from across the street or a phone call just to say hello can go a long way. Remember: We’re all in this together.
Do you have a great idea for a weekend activity that can help make YGK smile? Leave it in the comments below to share with everyone!