I’ve always striven to be honest on this site so I’ll just say it – I’ve lost count of our hours! I can give an estimate, because I know how much recess my girls get at school and what we do during our free time. So my guess is roughly around 155 hours to date. Not sure we’re well on our way to 1000 but we’re trying! And here’s the thing – we’re definitely getting outside way more than we were in previous years. My husband likes to joke that he hibernates in the winter and I used to bribe my girls with hot chocolate for 30 minutes of outside snow play. But now they know at least one hour of outside time is expected on the weekends if they want “screen time” (man, oh man) and they get it done unless it’s bitterly cold or windy (I’m not that cruel). Point is that we’re definitely spending more time outdoors, and even if we don’t make it to 1000, I’ll still call that a win.
Plus, the days are getting warmer and longer! My older one is much happier once winter is gone and then naturally gravitates outside without some maternal pushing. Playground season has also returned, soon to be followed by lake and pool time! In Barefoot and Balanced, Angela Hanscom talks about the perils of relying too much on a swing-set. She believes that children should be swayed away from the physical structure and pointed more towards the woods, imaginative play, physical risk taking etc. What do you think? I can see her point but that rule can be hard to follow in practical life. One of my children loves the woods and nature walks; the other could happily swing on the monkey bars for hours. I’ve therefore decided not to be strict about what my kids do outside. Instead I’ve concluded that outside is outside, and fresh air combined with physical movement is good enough for me. What are your thoughts? If you don’t have kids, have you tried this challenge for yourself? I’m working on pushing myself outdoors more, too, and my mental health has benefited! – Rachel