1,000 Hours Outside, or However Many You Can Muster!

It’s now been a year since the pandemic hit, so you’ve likely gotten pretty used to spending a LOT of time inside by now. And with it still being winter in most parts of the country, the stir craziness has probably been at an all-time high (it’s not just us, right?!). So let’s talk about mixing it up and getting outside, no matter the weather.

Have you heard about the new, so-popular-it’s-gone-viral challenge that’s been circulating? It’s a simple concept: in a year, aim to spend 1,000 hours outside with your family. Broken down, that’s around 20 hours per week. If that seems wild to you, check out the founder of this movement’s website, which compares that to the average time that children are on their screens these days. It might shock you. And we’ll spare you all the research findings, but suffice it to say that getting outside more has been proven to have lots of positive effects for children. Aside from the lofty 1,000 hours goal, any improvement from your current routine to incorporate more outside time is a step in the right direction! To help, we rounded up some of our favorite tips and tricks to spend more time outside. 

First, since we’re obviously food-focused, one approach is to plan more of your meals outside. There are a number of ways to do this, even in the winter. For one, you could go on a winter sport outing, such as cross country skiing, ice skating, or snowshoeing, and bring a picnic with you to enjoy during a break! Finger foods are of course an easy choice, but you could also bring a more full meal that’s just as delicious cold. For example, many of our guests enjoy our Penne with Chicken and Peanut Sauce (on our March menu) cold rather than warm. Just cook it ahead of time, pop it in Tupperware containers in the fridge, then before you head out throw it in your daypack with some utensils and napkins, and you’re good to go.

Another tip to help you and your family get outside: track your time outdoors! The simple act of tracking your time spent out of the house could be an incentive for doing it more if you’re noticing that you don’t spend as much time outside as you thought. The 1,000 Hours Outside website has some great printables for this, but even marking down the time on your family’s wall calendar will do. And if 1,000 is a bit of a stretch for your family, just set a goal that works for you, and start tracking!

If averaging 20 hours a week outside is new and slightly overwhelming to you, here’s something else to keep in mind: you don’t have to always have activities, games, and events planned! Simple, unstructured time outside is incredibly beneficial, such as a leisurely walk to explore the neighborhood (with no particular end location or route planned), or time when your kids are just playing freely in the snow at the park or in an open field. This approach is actually easier for you since it won’t require planning or thinking ahead, and it’s just as helpful to your kiddos since it encourages them to use their creativity and imagination. Maybe they’ll come up with an imaginative game to play while they’re frolicking in the snow – they’re explorers, lost in the Arctic while on a mission! They’re on a newly discovered frozen planet and have lost contact with mission control! The options really are endless. So don’t let the idea of scheduling things to do outside be the thing that stops your family from getting out there. If you’re looking to read more on this topic for some additional inspiration, we suggest checking out the book “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather” by Swedish author Linda McGurk – her blog has some great resources too.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity in the colder months? What are you most excited to do outside once the weather warms up? We’d love to hear from you! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to let us know. Share your outdoor photos with us, too! Help us in celebrating spending more time outside, especially when it’s quality time spent with our loved ones.