It’s a balance trying to make sure I am keeping my four-year-old daughters socially distanced, while also providing enriching experiences that foster their growth and development.
As a former teacher, I know life experiences provide background knowledge to make them stronger readers, but I knew I had a problem when we pulled away from my favorite donut shop, Detour Doughnuts, and they said:
“School is closed but coffee and doughnuts are still open.”
It was true. For weeks, I had only been taking them for car rides to grab donuts and coffee and I needed to change it up. For the sake of my girls, it was time to get creative and make sure they’re not impacted by my desire to social distance.
This is how our family started doing alterna-picnics.
Alterna-picnics merge my love for supporting small businesses while providing the girls with enriching experiences in the community, social distance-style. As far as my daughters are concerned, we’re simply spending more time having “adventures” and having tons of picnics.
If all goes well, they fall asleep in the car after each adventure.
You’ll find my top five faves below. I want to hear about yours, too, so we can all share and grow our littles together. Please leave me a comment!
Babe’s and Trains
Grab and Go: Babe’s Chicken – Grab something easy like chicken tenders for an easy carry-along meal.
Activity: Pop the trunk of the SUV and have a picnic in the back parking lot near the parked train car and wait for trains to go by. While waiting, explore the outside of the Frisco Heritage Center and take enviable photos.
When the train goes by, have the kids wave to the conductor! Despite the train conductors knowing they’re supposed to be quiet in Frisco, they always oblige with a honk and a wave.
Educational Opportunity: Science, World Geography, Math, and History.
Donuts and Planes
Grab and Go: Swing by your local small biz donut shop and grab some sweet treats. (As mentioned above, I’m partial to Detour Doughnuts.
Activity: Drive to Love Field or DFW Airport and watch the planes come and go while daydreaming that you’re headed out on an exotic vacation. There’s plenty of space to run while maintaining a social distance.
Educational Opportunity: Science, Math, and World Geography.
Tacos and Sand
Grab and Go: Make a stop by Marianas Taco Shop in the Rail District and grab whatever catches your eye. You won’t be disappointed.
Activity: Drive to Little Elm Park and dig your toes into the sand. Close your eyes and pretend it’s the black sand in Italy or white sand in Florida. (Who cares, pretend.) Bring buckets for sandcastles and you’re set. (Related read: If You Need Me, I’ll Be at Lake Lewisville.)
Educational Opportunity: Science and World Geography.
Market and Art
Grab and Go: Stop by the Frisco Fresh Market and grab anything to go. Just follow your nose and you’ll find a small business ready to satisfy your craving.
Activity: Walk Hall Park where you’ll find more than 200 works of art, a great pond, and a concrete path. Bring some duck food and you’ll soon become some sort of duck pied piper.
The art in Hall Park is incredible and we’re lucky to have such a great collection close to home.
Educational Opportunity: Fine art and Science.
Smoothies and Hike
Grab and Go: Family Health Market is a Frisco mainstay and has amazing smoothies that are healthy while not tasting “too healthy” for picky eaters.
Activity: There are tons of great places to get out in nature without needing to prepare a camelback. A few of my favorites are:
- Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano: It has a playground and WiFi. That’s right, you can work while the kids run amok.
- Limestone Quarry Park: Follow the Taychas Trail and go off the concrete path to find a fun creek to explore.
- Frisco Commons: It has a concrete path so it’s easy to push a stroller, pull a wagon, or get the kids out for a bike ride. Bonus, it has public restrooms!
- Cottonwood Creek Greenbelt: It’s a great hidden gem where you can take a walk with little time commitment. Bonus, there’s a playground on the path!
Educational Opportunity: World Geography and Science.
- Take the kids to a park during off-peak times. There are tons of great playgrounds in Frisco – far more than the well-known ones that first come to mind. My personal fave is one that has literally only had only one other child playing on it since March. Take a side road and you’ll find parks in the Rail District that are amazing and off the beaten path.
- Northwest Community Park. It’s shaded and doesn’t feel like it’s in the center of a bustling suburb. You’ll encounter meadows, a pond, and wildlife. Don’t make my mistake. Wear walking shoes and pack water.
- Take the kids out to watch construction in action. It’s science and math rolled into one that can lead to great conversations. We’ve sat and watched the action at The Star, in our neighborhood, and at the new PGA golf course.
- Go to the Shops of Legacy and walk around the pond. It’s shaded, has nature, and very few people. Bonus, there’s an amazing gelato shop on the perimeter and there’s a restroom in the hotel.
- You just might be in walking distance of a stocked pond. Now is a good time to catch and release.