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The COVID-19 pandemic is understandably creating high anxiety and stress for all. Fortunately for those of us who live in Maine with easy access to nature, the outdoors can continue to support our well-being and learning while we must stay away from school or work.

Many studies show that spending regular time outdoors improves both our physical and mental health and improves concentration. So, outdoor time can be especially valuable during these trying times. In fact, the Irish government has been encouraging families to spend time outdoors during this pandemic. Fresh air is good for us all, and it is much easier to maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet from one another outdoors than indoors.

Teachers around the globe are scrambling to create virtual learning opportunities and parents are trying to come up with engaging activities for children stuck at home. Here are some simple outdoor learning activities to try in your own backyard or a nearby preserve.

1. Color Matching

If you have any colorful magazines, construction paper or paint swatch cards on hand, head outside to find a perfect match to those colors in nature — one color at a time. You’ll be amazed by how many colors are out there, even in early spring. Afterward, you could create a rainbow or other nature art with what you find. You can even photograph your creation to share on your favorite social media platform.

Check out the rest of the activities on the Bangor Daily News site!

By Hazel Stark, special to the Bangor Daily News