What Can We Do During Lockdown? Hamilton and Halton (and almost all of Ontario) have moved into Grey Zone which means we are even more limited on what we can do during this extended break. But here are some ideas to answer the question “What Can We Do Now?”
On Monday, December 21 the Provincial government made the announcement that the province will move into Grey Zone as of December 26, 2020. Hamilton and Halton have yet to experience this type of restriction, so that brings us to the burning question…What Can We Do Now?
Grey Zone is defined as Lockdown, and only essential businesses are open. You can read the detailed list outlining what that means on the Ontario.ca website. Here are some key points:
- Sports facilities, gyms, and pools – only open for camps
- Libraries: Open for curbside pick-up. Patrons permitted to enter libraries for contactless drop-off and pick-up and to access computers, photocopiers, or similar services.
- Outdoor recreational amenities (for example, ice rinks, ski hills, snow trails) open with restrictions (for example, no team sports)
- Museums and galleries closed to the public
- Zoos and aquariums closed except for drive-through events
- Restaurants open for takeout/curbside pick up and delivery.
Have Fun At Home
First and foremost stay home. It’s the very best place for you and your family, and trust me when I say there is still a lot of fun you can have at home! Whether you want to send the kids on an indoor scavenger hunt or an outdoor scavenger hunt around the neighbourhood, we’ve got you set.
Festive Fun with Your Bubble
Driving by or walking through to see beautiful Christmas lights is a perfect way to spend time with your household without it costing a penny. We have the biggest Map of Christmas Lights and even a printable Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt for the kids to take with them. And if you’re looking for a bigger display, check out these drive-through and walk-through holiday light displays.
hit the slopes with your sled
Did you know there are 10 City-approved toboggan hills between Burlington and Hamilton, spaced throughout various neighbourhoods.
Bring Some Fun Home
Take-home activity kits are a great way to inject a little fun and activity into the winter. Whether it’s a craft kit from a local maker, or paint your own pottery, businesses are finding new and great ways to make sure you stay entertained while at home. There are lots on this list of Grab and Go activities. Also, most toy stores are set up for online ordering and curbside pickup or delivery. If you can, support the independent toy and book stores.
Virtual and Online Game Nights
Who knew one of my new favourite lockdown activities would be online Pictionary and Scategories with my friends over Zoom? Crazy times! We have a bunch of family-friendly and adult-approved ideas for your next virtual game night right here.
Check Out the Library
Though all Burlington and Hamilton branches are closed for in-person borrowing and browsing, you can still request books and movies online and pick them up when they’re ready. We’ve been doing holds and curbside pickups since March and have loved it. Hamilton Public Library has moved their events online and you can do anything from listening to storytime, watch a movie, or play an online game with others. See their events page here. Burlington Public Library has virtual puppet shows, storytimes, and of course Tumblebooks for kids! See BPL’s online offerings here. Select Hamilton libraries are open for computer usage.
Get Outside Safely
Fresh air is vital, and we’ve also become fans of hiking in the last 10+ months. Thankfully, even in the current grey zone, Conservation Halton and Hamilton Conservation Areas will be accessible. You can book your visit to a Halton Conservation Area here. Hamilton Conservation doesn’t require pre-booking, but they do close entrances when they hit their new modified capacity, so watch their Twitter feed for those updates before you head out. Check out our guide to Favourite Hikes with Kids, we have lots of options and lots of great know-before-you-go info.
Hit The Ice
Outdoor ice skating is an excellent way to be outdoors, be active and be physically distanced from other people. Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville have outdoor rinks open for community skating for their residents. You can find them here: Oakville – Burlington – Hamilton . Spaces have been hard to come by, so be aware!
Go For a Walk or Roll
Until some serious snow lands and stays, you can easily walk, roll, stroll, scoot or bike around the city. Smooth walking and biking paths are the perfect way to stretch those legs and let the kids burn off some energy. Walking new streets and paths was one of our favourite March/April/May lockdown activities so expect to see us out there again this winter. Our faves are:
- Hamilton Beachway Path
- Centennial Multi-Use Path in Burlington runs from downtown to Burloak and is 8 km long
- Lions Valley Park in Oakville
- Bayfront Park in Hamilton
- Spencer Smith Park in Burlington (could be busy)
- Sheldon Creek Trail in Oakville
Parks and Playgrounds
Playgrounds are still open and accessible during this phase of the covid response. We’ve been to quite a few this year and we have the ins and outs of what to expect and what to plan for in our Parks and Playgrounds guides. Keep in mind we have dozens (literally dozens) of park options, so choose a lesser-known park to help ensure there are plenty of ways to socially distance.
Enjoy Some Quality Screen Time
Screen time gets a bad rap a lot of the time, but it can be such a great way to learn about things we’d otherwise never know! Finding interactive and educational lockdown activities became a mission in March, and boy am I glad I still have this list! Sit back and take in a tutorial on cartooning, or tour a museum. Watch one of the many concerts that have been streamed this year or check out the live Zoo Cams at some of the world’s biggest zoos! All of these ideas and more can be found here.
3 Weeks of Movie Nights!
Oh yeah! I love a movie night, and I’ll be using this list of the 30 Best Christmas Movies to get my family through this lockdown. If you have any you’d like to add to the list – share them in the comments!
The City of Hamilton has a program called Snow Angels. The Snow Angels program is a volunteer-driven snow removal service for low-income seniors and/or people with disabilities who live in the City of Hamilton to ensure the safety of the residents and their caregivers. Volunteers remove snow from a resident’s sidewalk, windrow, and the path leading to their main access door. Kids 14 and older can volunteer, and it’s a great way for you and your teen to give back, together. Food banks and other community outreach programs need help as well. They’ll be limited right now on how many volunteers they can host, but please reach out and see where you can help.
We have some great kid-approved conversation starters here. Choose from questions that start with Would You Rather? or This or That? and spark some big thoughts and big laughs at dinner time or anytime!