With COVID-19 restrictions stopping residents from enjoying the usual day-to-day activities, businesses and organizations came up with creative solutions the last few months, and Riverfront North Partnership was no exception.
The nonprofit charged with creating an 11-mile trail that connects parks along the Delaware River created winter activity boxes, a fun way for families to stay engaged with the riverfront both inside and outside their homes while practicing social distancing.
Brian Green, programs and partnerships manager at Riverfront North, was the mastermind behind the initiative.
“I wanted to think of a way to engage people over the winter when we traditionally have less programming due to the weather. This year, with COVID, it seemed even more important to get people outside in the parks since there are limited opportunities for people to leave their house,” he said. “So I wanted to create some activities for families and kids to do together in their homes and at a local park.”
Families were able to register for the complimentary boxes via the Riverfront North website or a form posted to its social media pages.
Staff from the nonprofit scheduled deliveries and dropped the boxes off at participants homes.
Each box contained five projects: kits to make seed balls; supplies to make pine cone bird feeders; supplies to paint nature rocks; instructions on making a bee condo; and a kit to plant a tickle me plant.
Additional items included a kids trail book with activities as well as three photo scavenger hunts at Riverfront North parks.
“It’s a box of activities that gives families an opportunity to explore parks in Philly in a way they might not have before,” Green said. “There are some scavenger hunts, and activities around animal tracking and spotting different types of birds. Then, there are a bunch of activities for kids to complete at home that focus around plants, nature and environmental conservation.”
The initiative distributed 50 boxes and anyone in Philadelphia was eligible to register for a box. The boxes reached 12 ZIP codes in total as of Friday, Jan. 15.
The project was funded by larger initiatives, which receive a mix of funds from corporations, foundations and local donors.
The fun doesn’t stop at the box.
Families completing activities are encouraged to share photos on social media and tag Riverfront North for a chance to win prizes such as Riverfront North gear and gift cards.
Connecting kids to nature is the ultimate goal.
“We hope to give families an opportunity to learn together and also get out of the house and explore a local park over the winter,” Green said. “It’s been challenging with COVID this past year and we want families to get outdoors and safely enjoy some of our beautiful riverfront parks together with their kids. A lot of people don’t realize how much nature can be found in some of our local parks within the city.”
While all boxes have been distributed, Riverfront North will look into expanding the program next winter.
For the latest updates on Riverfront North, visit https:riverfrontnorth.org.