As you know we are quite outdoorsy as a family. There are plenty of reasons why we do this: to connect with nature, to get some exercise, get fresh air and educate the children too. All of them are very important. To connect with nature is the easiest way to reduce stress and anxiety, being outside helps us to feel grounded and relaxing – just as exercising. Physical activity outside is important for both children and adults for a wide variety of reasons. It helps to reduce overweight and obesity, increases strength in muscles and bones and can even improve concentration at school and at work.
Benefits of being outside
It’s also one of the small things we can appreciate and to be grateful for these days. Now that we are practically in proper lockdown again and the children will be homeschooled in most of January – we need to make sure that we get outside as much as we can, even if it’s cold. Just wrap up and go outside!
Speaking from educational point of view, without getting out and experiencing nature, there is no other way to teach the children the importance of looking after the natural environment. They will feel connected, boosted with positive experience and energy after spending time in nature. We can all remember for this from our own childhood. It’s so much easier to talk about the important environmental issues, facts and teach them to respect nature when they can actually visualise, smell, feel nature surrounding them. There is so much nature can teach us.
We are lucky to live near a lot of green spaces, on the boarder of London and Surrey, so we often visit Richmond Park, the Home Park and other places in Surrey that are close to us like Alice Holt or Bockett’s Farm. And the best of all, in most cases it cost nothing or just very little to to go outside and enjoy nature.
1000 hours outside challenge
This is why I was inspired my eco mum blogger friend Emma Reed, who has done it last year. Not stopping of course she has just signed up for another year and I can see why.
So what is it about? Simply spend 1000 hours outside in nature with the kids in 2021! That’s it. Most of us can manage it with a little stretch and challenging ourselves to get outside more often. Which is good for us – and pledging to take the challenge can help. There’s a few lovely tracker sheet designs available to colour in every single hour spent outside. I think I might get a little bit obsessed with it!
The original idea of the challenge was to attempt to match nature time with screen time. If kids can consume media through screens 1200 hours a year on average then the time is there and at least some of it can and should be shifted towards a more productive and healthy outcome!
If you are up for this too, get yourself a tracker here and get outside!