How to Embrace the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge with Your Kids. We completed the 1000 hours outside challenge in 2022 and really enjoyed it. We managed to complete the challenge by the July of that year. The thing with the 1000 hours outside challenge, is that everyone does it differently. The first thing to note is that, as a family, we are not remotely ‘outdoorsy’. You won’t catch us hiking up mountains or fishing (well not successfully anyway). What we are though, if ‘outsidey’. We love playing tennis, splashing in puddles and going for walks in the woods.
What are the rules for the 1000 hours outside challenge:
There are no firm or set rules as such; more a motivation to grab your wellies and puddle suits (cold weather) or bikinis and sunglasses (hotter weather!!) and spend as much time outside as possible. We counted everything as a family so if one of us went outside the square was coloured in. This made it easier as the kids would get playtime at school, Mike would rack up hours bowling and I even counted the school run as we walk it.
This year, we want to do it again, but make it more challenging – I think this year I will only count hours that I been outside with the children.
In an era dominated by digital screens, fostering a healthy lifestyle for our kids involves steering them away from constant connectivity and into the great outdoors. The 1000 Hours Outside Challenge really encouraged us to get out more, and that can only be a good thing!
How to Do the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge:
1. Download the Tracker: Our family’s outdoor adventure began with the download of a colouring sheet from the official 1000 Hours Outside website. This tracker serves as a visual representation of our dedication to the challenge, with each coloured hour marking a significant step towards achieving the 1000 hours outside goal. It has added a playful and visually rewarding element to our outdoor pursuits. Some people enjoy matching the colours on the sheet to that days temperature.
2. Set Realistic Goals: Breaking down the 1000-hour challenge into manageable goals helps keep the momentum going. Set weekly or monthly targets that align with your family’s schedule, making it more achievable and less overwhelming. We spend far more time outside in the summer, so factor this in to our monthly targets.
3. Integrate Outdoor Activities: Incorporate outdoor activities seamlessly into your daily routine. Whether it’s a family walk after dinner, a game of tennis at the weekend, or a trip to the park, find opportunities to log those outdoor hours without disrupting your family’s lifestyle.
4. Be Creative: Get creative with your outdoor time. Encourage the kids to come up with their own outdoor projects, whether it’s building a birdhouse, starting a small garden, or organising a family picnic. The more inventive and enjoyable, the easier it becomes to reach the 1000-hour goal.
Health Benefits of the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge
1. Physical Activity and Exercise: Structured and unstructured outdoor play encourages physical activity, contributing to the development of motor skills and a healthier lifestyle, aligning perfectly with the goals of the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge.
2. Mental Well-being: Nature has a calming effect on the mind, reducing stress and promoting overall well-being. Disconnecting from screens and spending time in nature fosters mindfulness—a key aspect emphasised by the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge.
3. Vitamin D Boost: Sunlight, a natural source of Vitamin D, plays a crucial role in the development of strong bones and a robust immune system. The 1000 Hours Outside Challenge promotes sun safety during extended outdoor sessions.
4. Social Skills and Teamwork: Many outdoor activities involve interaction with peers, siblings, or other children in the neighbourhood. Engaging in the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge together helps kids develop essential social skills.
5. Enhanced Creativity and Imagination: The outdoors serve as a catalyst for sparking a child’s imagination, fostering creativity that aligns seamlessly with the spirit of the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge.
Ideas for spending time outside with kids while doing the 1000 hours outside challenge:
- Picnic in the Park: Enjoy a relaxing outdoor meal surrounded by nature.
- Outdoor Movie Night: Create a backyard cinema with blankets and pillows.
- Scavenger Hunt: Foster teamwork and exploration in your neighborhood.
- Community Event Attendance: Experience the vibrancy of local fairs or markets.
- Volunteer Together: Contribute to the community through family volunteer efforts.
- Photography Adventure: Explore surroundings, capturing moments as a family.
- Street Art Exploration: Appreciate local street art, murals, and installations.
- Gardening Day: Plant flowers, herbs, or vegetables together in the backyard.
- Bike Ride: Cruise through scenic routes, promoting exercise and family bonding.
- Nature Trail Hike: Explore nearby trails, observing flora and fauna as a family.
- Family Sports Day: Organise a friendly competition with various sports activities.
- Beach Day: Spend a day by the sea, building sandcastles and playing games.
- Cultural Festival Visit: Attend local cultural events or festivals together.
- Petting Zoo Excursion: Enjoy a day at a petting zoo, interacting with animals.
- Outdoor Concert or outdoor theatre trip: Groove to live music in an outdoor concert setting.
- Geocaching Adventure: Try geocaching for a modern-day treasure hunt.
- Camping in the Backyard: Set up tents for a fun backyard camping experience.
- Farmer’s Market Trip: Explore fresh produce and local goods at a farmer’s market.
- Kayaking or Canoeing: Navigate calm waters as a family adventure.
- Family Art in Nature: Create art using natural materials found outdoors.
- Family Photography Scavenger Hunt: Combine photography and scavenger hunting for a creative day out.
- Outdoor DIY Movie Set: Create a mini movie set in the backyard and film family skits or short films.
- Historical Walking Tour: Explore historical sites in your area with a self-guided walking tour.
- Rock Climbing Adventure: Try organised outdoor rock climbing for a thrilling family experience.
- Botanical Garden Visit: Wander through lush gardens, appreciating the diverse plant life.
- Astronomy Night: Attend a local astronomy event or set up a telescope for stargazing.
- Outdoor Art Festival: Visit an art festival or create your own family art showcase outdoors.
- Bird Watching Excursion: Bring binoculars and identify local bird species in a nature reserve.
- Family-Friendly Obstacle Course: Set up an obstacle course in the backyard for physical challenges.
- Hot Air Balloon Ride: Take a tethered hot air balloon ride for a unique family adventure.
- Outdoor Fitness Class: Join a family-friendly outdoor fitness class together.
- Paddleboarding or Kayaking: Explore lakes or rivers with a family paddleboarding or kayaking trip.
- Beach Volleyball Tournament: Organise a friendly beach volleyball tournament with family teams.
- DIY Outdoor Movie Screen: Build a DIY outdoor movie screen for impromptu film nights.
- Creative Outdoor Cooking: Experiment with creative outdoor cooking, like foil packet meals.
- Butterfly Garden Planting: Create a butterfly-friendly garden with colourful flowers.
- Family Beach Clean-Up: Contribute to environmental conservation with a beach clean-up day.
- Outdoor Chess or Board Games: Play oversized chess or board games in a local park.
- Outdoor Concert Picnic: Attend an outdoor concert, bringing a picnic for the family.
- Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride: Enjoy a leisurely carriage ride together in a scenic area.
- Star Gazing Night: Lay out blankets and gaze at the stars, identifying constellations.
- Outdoor Yoga Session: Practice family-friendly yoga in a local park, on the beach or in the backyard.
- Fruit Picking Excursion: Visit a local orchard for a day of fruit picking together.
- Roller Skating or Skateboarding: Roll around the neighborhood for active fun.
- Family Fishing Trip: Spend a peaceful day fishing at a nearby pond or lake.
- Mini Golf Challenge: Enjoy a friendly round of mini golf as a family.
- Art in the Park: Bring art supplies to a park and create outdoor masterpieces.
- Family Cooking Class: Have an outdoor cooking session, experimenting with recipes.
- Parkour Adventure: Try basic parkour moves in a safe outdoor environment.
- DIY Nature Scents: Create natural fragrances using flowers, herbs, and essential oils.
- Nature-inspired Storytelling: Take turns creating a collaborative story inspired by your outdoor surroundings.
- Outdoor Science Fair: Conduct simple science experiments outdoors, showcasing family creativity.
- Family Karaoke in the Park: Sing your hearts out at a karaoke session in a local park.
- Community Art Mural: Contribute to a community mural, expressing your family’s artistic flair.
- Outdoor Tai Chi or Yoga Retreat: Practice relaxation techniques together in a serene outdoor setting.
- Mini Water Balloon Fight: Beat the heat with a playful family water balloon fight in the yard.
- Outdoor Mindfulness Meditation: Practice mindfulness as a family in a peaceful outdoor setting.
- Family-Friendly Archery: Try your hand at archery in a safe and supervised environment.
- Open-air Painting Class: Join an outdoor painting class or set up your own family art studio.
- Vegetable Garden Cooking Challenge: Cook a meal using vegetables from your family’s garden.
- DIY Birdhouses or Feeders: Build and decorate birdhouses or feeders to attract local birds.
- Family Astronomy Campout: Combine camping with stargazing for an unforgettable experience.
- Canine Adventure Day: Include your furry friends in a day of outdoor activities.
- Outdoor Charades: Play a game of charades in the backyard, using nature-themed prompts.
- DIY Nature Crafts: Make crafts using leaves, twigs, and other natural materials.
- Outdoor Book Club: Read a book together in a park, discussing it as a family.
- Rock Painting: Decorate rocks with vibrant colors and leave them in public spaces.
- Family Bike Tour: Explore your city or town on bikes, discovering hidden gems.
- Nature Journaling: Document observations of plants, animals, and weather in a journal.
- Horseback Riding: Enjoy a family horseback riding adventure at a local stable.
- Tree trekking or Canopy Zip Lining: Experience an adrenaline rush with a family zip-lining adventure.
- Nature Clean-Up Day: Contribute to the environment by cleaning up a local park.
- Outdoor Puzzle Challenge: Solve puzzles or riddles in an outdoor setting.
If you do take part in the 1000 hours outside challenge, or complete any of the how to spend time outside with kids ideas then do tag me on your social media posts – I would to see the fun you are all having!