Monday, April 4, 2011

Finding Time in Your Day for 15 Minutes Outside


This post is part of “Your Green Hour Survival Guide,” a series which I hope will provide inspiration to make getting outside every day a habit.

Last week I asked fans of Go Explore Nature’s Facebook page to share their biggest challenge to getting outside 15 minutes a day. I was somewhat surprised to discover that no one mentioned “finding time” as a hurdle.

It certainly is for me.

In case I’m not the only one, allow me to let you in on a little secret: Instead of trying to give up something in your current routine, build outdoor time into what you already do.

Here are a few simple ways we’ve started to do so (weather permitting, of course):

Play on school grounds at pick up time.
The elementary school play structures come in handy on days when we’re short on time. We make sure to take notice of nature – the birds, trees, clouds and even the weather – while we play.

Tack on time for free play after sports practices.
Once a week we play at our local park after the big explorer’s sport’s practice. The free play ranges from building sand castles to climbing trees and playing in the mud.


Have a meal outside.
It’s still a little chilly for dinner outside, but last week we enjoyed a picnic lunch with friends. Plenty of free play followed.

Take play dates outside.
This has become a habit I love. The best part? No mess inside to clean up!

Take favorite indoor toys and games outdoors.
The kids love their cars, trucks and trains. Outside, they run them off ramps, in the sand and in the mud.


Create family nature time on weekends.
We make a point of spending at least a couple of hours during the weekend outside as a family. Sometimes we keep it simple (like explore a new-to-us park); other times we go on an adventure (the ones I share here, of course!).

Read outside.
This is handy when you’re feeling especially unmotivated. Since we read every day, doing so outside doesn’t involve any additional time.


 Other things we haven’t tried yet but sound good:
  • Walk (or bike) to or from school.
  • Take homework outside.
  • Get outside before school.
  • Make nighttime walks around the neighborhood a ritual.
By taking some of our routine activities outside, we often don’t even have to think about it. Which is exactly where you want to be. Getting outside every day without even thinking about it.

Are you like me – wondering how to make time for outdoor explorations part of your daily routine? What works for you?

4 comments:

  1. This is such a comprehensive list of fab things to do outside, thanks! I am going to link to this in my Celebration of Outdoor Play post. Thank you for your blog- your mission is admirable!

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  2. @Anna: Thanks for sharing my post. I hope it'll inspire other people to see that they CAN get outside every day! :)

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  3. We love our evening walks, reading outside, playdates outside, and brining our indoor toys out! Great ideas.
    This is not a hurdle for us but I can certainly see how for families with older kids that have school and after school commitments this could be a real challenge.
    Great post!

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  4. @Abbie: The sooner you make outdoor time a habit, the easier I think it will be to continue even as you add on other commitments. You're already doing an awesome job! :)

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