The 1,000 hours outside challenge is just what it sounds like – spend 1,000 hours outside in a year. This may seem like a daunting task, even when you break it up by day (approx. 2.74 hours a day).
But, fear not! We’ve got some secrets, tips and tricks you can implement to help achieve your goal!
Anyone can participate in the 1,000 hours outside challenge, but it’s especially great for families! With screen time on the rise and family relationships suffering, embarking on this challenge will undoubtedly result in positive outcomes! Our secrets, tips & tricks to crushing the 1,000 hours outside challenge are geared towards families with children, but really anyone can modify these tips for their personal situation.
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There’s so much world to explore, so change it up!
Here are just a few ideas:
Consider places both near and far. We don’t mind driving an hour+ if it means a cool new place to explore for the day!
By the same token, don’t overlook the space around your home! Spending time outside doesn’t have to be a trek every time.
Really enjoy the outdoor space outside your home!
Whether you have a huge backyard, small backyard or no backyard, take maximum advantage of the outdoor space you do have. This may be a small patio or parking lot. Or maybe you have some outdoor space within a short walking distance.
We have a small backyard, a screened in patio, a small front yard and driveway. We take advantage of all these outdoor areas.
Go outside during all hours of the day. The same places may look totally different at different hours of the day – different people, different animals, different birds & bugs, different sounds, different lighting….you get the idea!
Go out and watch the sunset or sunrise.
Look at the moon and stars.
Take it from the scouts and be prepared! Nothing can spoil time outdoors faster than having to go back home because you came unprepared.
Always have enough water and food (the last thing you want is a hangry toddler – or daddy!). We always bring our reusable water bottles and plenty of snacks – and sometimes a meal!
Make sure everyone is wearing comfortable clothes and shoes. You don’t want to have to cut your time outdoors short because somebody’s feet hurt or somebody is too cold because they’re not dressed for the weather. If you have younger children, also consider bringing a stroller or carrier!
When you’re taking part in the 1,000 hours outside challenge, you’ll want to make sure you count every minute!
It’s easy to overlook small bursts of time spent outdoors – but it’s all these little moments that will help you achieve your 1,000 hours goal.
To make tracking your time easier, we recommend getting a time tracker app. We talk more about the app we use and like here.
As mentioned above, the small amounts of time spent outdoors really do add up. Even if you won’t get nearly close to spending 2.74 hours outside in a single day, still make an effort to get outside each and every day!
For instance, you could easily turn the daily task of checking the mailbox into 15-30 minutes of outdoor time.
Though spending at least 2.74 hours every day outdoors may be ideal, it’s just not practical for many families.
This is why we recommend “catching up” on your hours on the weekends or whenever you have more time.
On days you have more time, spend more time outside!
We will often drive to destinations for our planned longer days outdoor and make a full day of it.
Take a critical look at how you and your children spend your time. What activities do you regularly do that you can move outdoors? Or maybe you’re trying to cut down on screen time. What new activities could you embark on and do outside?
Here are some ideas:
Children (and adults!) who aren’t used to spending so much time outside may feel bored, uninspired or even dread their time outdoors. To combat this, especially in the beginning, it helps to have some planned activities. It could be anything from cloud watching to watering plants; looking at bark or bugs; or hiking a trail. Once you’ve spent some time outdoors, children will likely need less help finding things to do to keep them occupied.
Check out this article for more ideas: Nature Walk Ideas for Toddlers & Preschoolers (40+ Activities!)
Examples of outdoor projects/hobbies include:
Adding friends and family to the mix will definitely help you achieve your goal!
You could take your child to the same patch of grass every day for a week – but if they had a new friend with them, they surely wouldn’t mind!
Invite friends or family on your outdoor adventures. Invite friends or family to your backyard. Have a BBQ or picnic. Take a walk. Involve others in your journey of spending 1,000 hours outside!
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