The Gift of “1000 Hours Outside”
I am going to be upfront and admit, I used to not love the outdoors. I am more a creature of comfort, i.e. temperature controlled, bugless indoors. That was before 2020 happened. Before my eyes start to twitch thinking back to the “2 weeks to flatten the curve” and “social distancing,” I can tell you that one blessing came out of it. I learned to love and appreciate the outdoors. When the world shut down on March 13, 2020, I was 37 weeks pregnant, with a VERY spirited 20 month old and energetic 5 year old. My husband is a first responder so not much changed for him in those months but for my kids and I, our world turned upside down as did almost everyone else’s worlds. After giving birth to our littlest guy two weeks later and settling in at home, the reality set in that it was not going to be just a two week stint at home. We were in what seemed an endless time of isolation. The walls were quickly closing in on us and my kids had to burn their energy. I will note here that although I am not a nature girl, my kids, as most kids, THRIVE outside. I was able to take those times and learn through them to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. Praise the Lord that we were coming into the warmer months of 2020 when all of this is going on because not only am I a temperature controlled loving girl, I HATE the cold!
Fast forward further into 2020. I am now officially a homeschool mom of a Kindergartener. I can promise you that I never planned to homeschool my kids. In fact I told God that it was not going to happen. (Well jokes on me because it has been one of the biggest blessings in my parenting journey but that is another topic for maybe a future blog post!) Homeschooling provided even more opportunities for my kids and I to be outside. We took many hikes as a family, found fun places to run around, and truly fell in love with the great outdoors. If you ask my daughter where her favorite place to do school is she will quickly answer “outside!” It is one of the perks of homeschooling too because we can take school anywhere and even play time is an opportunity for learning!
Like many, I enjoy my fair share of social media indulgences. In late 2021 I kept coming across this profile on Instagram, “1000 Hours Outside.” I did not pay too much attention to it at first but as we all know, Instagram and Facebook somehow “know” what intrigues us seemingly even before we do. As I pieced more information together, I finally gave the page a “follow” and I fell in love with their philosophy. Essentially, the 1000 Hours Outside movement is “attempt to match nature time with screen time.” This spoke to me. Although my kids do not have exorbitant amounts of screen time, I was already seeing the benefits first hand from their time outside. I wanted to learn more!
Jump with me now to January 2, 2022. I purposely do not make New Year’s resolutions. I know I will not keep them and I do not like to fail at things so since it was not January 1st, I figured this was not a resolution! I downloaded the 1000 Hours Outside app and my honest goal was not to even hit 1000 hours, it was to be more diligent about being outside. If we hit the 1000 hours great, if not that was totally ok too.
As I said before I have spirited kids and they need to burn that energy! On the paid version of the app, you can use their stopwatch. (You can also use their many trackers for free, I just liked the stopwatch version!). We started off…. weak! We did a whooping 12 hours in January. At this point I was convinced there was no way we would hit 1000 hours in the year but we kept on. February was a little better at 38 hours, March we had 64 hours, and then we hit the sweet spot, WARM WEATHER!!! In April we tracked 92 hours. May, June and July, frankly we killed it with 133, 152 and 130 hours. August and September were not too shabby either with 120 and 81 hours respectively. We just finished October with 55 hours for the month. It has honestly come to the point where I sometimes forget to track and I am sure we probably have more hours then I have calculated!
Our current count right now as I write this blog post on November 2, 2022, my kids have clocked 883 hours and 28 minutes! It may have been a slow start and I know I have not calculated everything perfectly but I do know it has been SO beneficial for all of us, myself included! My kids are happier outside, we have made incredible memories and they are truly living their best lives. To say thank you to the 1000 Hours Outside movement would not be enough! It has truly been such a blessing! I highly encourage you to check out 1000 Hours Outside and get outside! It is time well spent that you will not regret!
For more information check 1000 Hours Outside at: www.1000hoursoutside.com
Laura is a busy mom, wife, and unexpected homeschool teacher! Laura and her husband have three kids. If you would have asked her growing up “what do you want to be?” She would have told you “a wife and a mom.” Never in a million years did she ever dream of homeschooling but it has been the biggest blessing to her and her family. Laura stays busy looking after the kids, running the household, volunteering in various areas in their church and if there’s ever a spare moment you can find her working on her latest quilting project!