What is the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge? In a nutshell, the goal is to get your family outside as much as possible in order to reap the benefits of unstructured nature play. The advantages include stress reduction, physical exercise, fresh air and fun! Less screen time and more outside time! The aim is to reach 1000 hours within one year but I’m not holding myself to that number. For me, it’s more about working outside play into our lives, whether an hour or five a day, and helping my kids build a relationship with the Earth that can be enjoyed during all of the seasons.
Well, it’s November and I’ll be honest – it’s getting colder and harder to rally. My kids are feeling the urge to curl up indoors and I get it! Plus, lots of winter fun – think white, fluffy cotton-like stuff – isn’t available yet for sledding, snowmen building and skiing. Yet, I keep pushing because it’s only November and the freezing days are yet to come. Right now, there are definitely no temps that a warm fleece and second layer can’t solve. There are also so many places I want to explore with the girls and just love being out in the woods with them. Plus, despite their protests, I think they secretly enjoy it too. Some of our best memories have been made on random nature trails.
Right now, we’re at around 775 hours for the year. Life has been getting in the way! As things slowly return back to normal from the “Covid haze,” our calendar is filling again with indoor activities. It’s hard to say no when my kids have been without these types of events for a long time. So now the struggle begins – how do we balance childhood indoor fun (after school extra-curricular, birthday parties etc) with the need for outside time? I’d say a lot of families face this challenge and it’s something I’m going to work to solve, at least for my family. I don’t want to lose some of the lessons that we learned during that strange, strange time. For example, this weekend I cleared the calendar and we’re heading up north for one last big hiking hurrah before my family completely revolts.
PS Have you been following the COP26 Conference? All this talk is well and good, but let’s see some real action. I read something that said “planning to attain net-zero emissions by 2050 is like planning to stop smoking in 30 years from now.” So much more damage can be done during these coming years!
The New York Times also reports that “nations battered by climate change are demanding compensation from the big polluters.” Feels pretty reasonable to me. I also understand that a lot of this change is reliant on infrastructure and large systematic changes that can’t happen overnight. Yet a little more urgency would be nice. Time is running out.