500 Hours Outside

by | Aug 1, 2017

Last summer I decided to challenge myself and my kids to see if we could do 500 hours outdoors. I was inspired by a woman’s blog I had been following called 1000 hours outside – her idea was that the average child spends 1000 hours per year sitting in front of a screen and she wanted it to be their number outside. I saw it and figured it would be an attainable goal to do 500 in one summer. We started on the first day of summer, the day after school let out, and ended the day before school went back in. I calculated it to be 7.5 hours needed per day and since my kids sleep for 11-12 each night that left us with 3.5 daily indoors. Of course, we had days where we went to the aquarium or another indoor venue and spent more time than that inside but then we would go camping and average 11 hours outside per day!!

…eventually, they were the ones calling me out to get our ‘outside hours’ in for the day.

It took a little while for the kids to adjust to their new routine but eventually, they were the ones calling me out to get our ‘outside hours’ in for the day. My daughter was 5 and my son was 3, he complained a little more than she did but when they got the hang of it and started packing their bags to head outside before their breakfast was even ready I knew we would make it through.

The house work got a little neglected…ok a lot neglected but that was a great challenge for me to walk away and spend time with my kids outdoors. We learned to relax, play, get creative, just be, and of course, marvel at all of the beauty God surrounds us with every day. It was fun to think of places to go adventuring and of course how we could get a little more time in. We ate most of our meals outside in our backyard and my kids even had some evening baths in our very tiny kiddy pool on the deck.

I am still amazed at how long the summer felt – I’m sure it was because we were truly enjoying it and not rushing around or keeping ourselves busy tidying or accomplishing things. I am pleased to say that we are without a doubt doing it again this summer! My kids have been talking about it all year! We plan on making a wish list of simple things like reading a book while up in a tree, look for shapes in clouds, build an outdoor fort…

It doesn’t have to cost a thing and the benefits are endless.

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