As a mama of two little kids (3 and 1), I often find that the answer to looming boredom or a day of bickering is taking a bath or going outside. It’s nearly guaranteed to change the mood. So when I recently discovered the 1,000 Hours Outside Challenge it seemed like an easy thing to do. As stated on their website, the goal is to
“match nature time with screen time. If kids can consume media through screens 1200 hours a year on average then the time is there and at least some of it can and should be shifted towards a more productive and healthy outcome!”
I browsed the many different printout options to track the hours spent outside and pinned it on our family bulletin board. Then the week of cold weather came through, the baby already had an extremely runny nose, and we didn’t go outside at all for extended periods of time. Thinking about this challenge that I was initially excited about, I realized it might be harder to achieve than I realized. Overcome with doubt, I calculated, IF I really went outside every day, how many hours per day would I have to spend outside to accomplish this challenge? Two hours and 45 minutes a day. And for some reason, that seemed hefty.
Finally, warmer weather passed through, ranging from the 50s to the 60s and it was the weekend with my husband off work. We spent the morning cleaning out our cars of the ridiculous amount of children’s toys we collect in a week and washing the outside of the car. We ate a quick snack and then the kids asked to go swing on the playset. To the backyard we went! Then we met family at Moncus Park (with our dogs) and had a nice stroll around the pathways while our 3 year old practiced her scooter skills. All of a sudden we had spent 3 hours outside.
On Monday, I met a neighborhood mama at the zoo. We arrived shortly after they opened and stayed until noon. We fed a few animals, played on their playset a lot, ate plenty of snacks, and had a wonderful time. In fact, my 3-year-old didn’t want the fun to end and asked if we could play again after naptime. So that afternoon, the kids rode bikes together and that day we were outside for another 4 hours.
With renewed hope that we can actually accomplish this, I’m excited to see this challenge through. We have decided to start our challenge on January 30th and will see it through until January 29th, 2023. The great thing is there are no real rules to this challenge and it’s just meant to help us lead a more active lifestyle.