Everyone who speaks an opinion on the matter seems to agree: spending time outside is necessary for our physical and emotional health. Experts are concerned that our kids especially are suffering from “nature deficit”.
If you’ve ever felt challenged in this area, here’s a great resource for you:
I couldn’t agree more with the experts.
15 minutes outside
Why do we need to make it a goal to spend 15 minutes outside in the first place?
Because doing so is very important for our emotional and physical health. There are so many more things indoors that keep kids entertained these days. And, parents are increasingly encouraging their kids to stay in the house due to concerns about crime.
But spending just 15 minutes outside (for starters) each day is a worthy goal for all of us, children and adults alike. Here is a post that mentions 9 research-backed reasons to spend time outdoors every day.
As part of my Happiness Project, I make sure I get outside for at least 20 minutes a day. I’ve found it to be one of the simplest, easiest and fastest ways for me to boost my mood.
I know my kids are no different.
For the most part, I don’t have to encourage them to go outside. They invent games, they jump on the trampoline, ride bikes, and swing. We go to the park a lot, play soccer, visit playgrounds, and outdoor swimming pools in the summer.
One of my kids, whom I sometimes lovingly refer to as “my little Vampire”, rarely wants to go outside. So for him, I take the initiative to invite him to accompany me on my daily walk. He loves the one on one time, and he gets some fresh air too.
Another easy way to spend time outside is to eat a meal in the yard. Put down an old blanket and you have an instant picnic. Kids love this, and it can make an ordinary midweek lunch fun. Once you’re outside, it’s easy to stay out there. Try taking read-aloud outdoors. Do some en plein air painting.
My challenge is keeping this up for myself and my kids when the weather is less than gorgeous! This is where Rebecca’s book 15 Minutes Outside comes in.
It has little ideas (one for each day of the year) that will guide you on winter days, rainy days and just plain less than perfect days. Examples:
- Create your own drive in theater
- December bird count
- Harvest a fall crop
None of the ideas are extremely time consuming or require a lot of prep work. I look forward to trying some of these out when late Fall and Winter come around, when I usually feel like hibernating!
How do you get outside with your kids? Please share your tips and challenges below.