Since we moved to SC at the beginning of the pandemic, I have been striving to spend more time outdoors, especially for the benefit of our children. It was more challenging for me to spend more time outdoors in NC because of our neighborhood. We did not live close to a playground and there were no sidewalks in our neighborhood. Now we are really blessed to live in a neighborhood with sidewalks, a playground and a pool.
When the pool is open, we spend nearly every day at the pool. I am blessed to have my mother who has been helping me teach our kids how to swim during the warm months. It is much easier to spend more time outside in warm months because you do not have to be cold! Of course, a challenge of living in SC by the coast is all the humidity, but I will take it over the cold.
My neighbor recently shared with me that she is doing the 1000 hours outdoors challenge. This motivated me to try it too! We already spend more time outdoors than the average person with a desk job, but we could do better. I did the math and this would mean you would spend an average of 2.75 hours per day outside. This may seem daunting to some, but I do think there are ways to reach that number. I want to share my best tips with you to spend more time outdoors.
Spend More Time Outdoors: Take Daily Walks
Ever since we moved to our neighborhood, we have been taking nearly daily walks. This is an easy way to spend some time outdoors. Other benefits would include getting Vitamin D from the sun, fresh air, exercise and having an overall sense of calm from being outside.
Go to the Playground
Even if you do not have a playground close by, strive to take your kids to the closest one you have! Try to do this at least once per week. Your kids need the challenge of different obstacles and the benefit of exercise every day.
Spend More Time Outdoors: Bikes and/or Yard Toys
I am ashamed to say that it took us moving to SC to get motivated to get my children on tricycles and riding in general. We had a large tricycle in NC, but I felt isolated there and generally unmotivated very often to teach her. Since moving to SC, we are going on almost daily bike rides. Yes, my oldest daughter can now ride a bike without training wheels! I highly recommend getting a balance bike to train for a bicycle without training wheels. These bikes show kids how to balance and eventually move directly to a bike without training wheels. Other ideas would include getting out sports equipment such as soccer balls to kick around, digging tools like shovels and buckets and a sandbox. It is also a nice bonus if you have a fenced in yard so as not to worry about your kids running into the street. Bonus tip: you can get some outdoor chores done occasionally while your kids are playing. Anything from weeding, taking care of your garden, sweeping your walkway, or trimming bushes, etc.
Bring Your Chores Outside
Recently, I have been bringing our laundry basket outside to our back patio to fold our clean laundry. It has been nice to sit in the warm sun when it is out and to enjoy more of the benefits of being outside (including grounding!).
If you have a nice table for chopping, you can bring that outside to prep your meals (chop vegetables, make ferments, etc.).
Spend More Time Outdoors: Homeschool Outside
Teach your kids their homeschool assignments outside in order to spend more time outdoors! This is very much in the Charlotte Mason style.
If you do not already have one, purchase an outdoor table and chairs so you feel motivated to spend more time outdoors. We do not have a permanent outdoor table yet, so I have been moving the kids’ craft table and chairs in and outside when it is not raining. Mostly, we have been eating outside for lunch. I want to expand this to breakfast and potentially dinner. It would motivate me more if I did not have to the move the table and chairs back and forth so frequently!
Bring Activities and Books Outside
Another idea I had to spend more time outdoors was to bring out activities. Just last week, we completed a 100 piece children’s puzzle together outside, which took the better part of an hour! Be creative though – you could bring other kids’ toys and activities outside like crafts and drawing. I also have read many books outside to my kids.
I hope all of these tips have motivated you to spend more time outdoors. Please let me know in the comments if you have any additional tips I did not mention!