15 Minutes Outside

Everyone who has an opinion seems to agree that spending time outside is necessary for our physical and emotional health. Experts are concerned that our kids especially are suffering from “nature deficit”.

If you’ve ever felt challenged in this area, here’s a great resource for you:

Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids

I couldn’t agree more with the experts.

There are so many more things indoors that keep kids entertained these days, and parents are increasingly (and perhaps irrationally) encouraging their kids to stay in the house.

As part of my Happiness Project, I make sure I get outside for at least 20 minutes a day. I’ve found it to be one of the simplest, easiest and fastest ways for me to boost my mood. I know my kids are no different.

For the most part, I don’t have to encourage them to go outside. They invent games (like a hybrid croquet game they came up with after finding a croquet set in the backyard of our rental home), they jump on the trampoline, ride bikes, and swing. We go to the park a lot, play soccer, visit playgrounds, and outdoor swimming pools in the summer.

One of my kids, whom I sometimes lovingly refer to as “my little Vampire”, rarely wants to go outside. So for him, I take the initiative to invite him to accompany me on my daily walk. He loves the one on one time, and he gets some fresh air too.

My challenge is keeping this up for myself and my kids when the weather is less than gorgeous! This is where Rebecca’s book comes in.

It has little ideas (one for each day of the year) that will guide you on winter days, rainy days and just plain less than perfect days. Things like:

  • Create your own drive in theater
  • December bird count
  • Harvest a fall crop

None of the ideas are extremely time consuming or require a lot of prep work. I look forward to trying some of these out when late Fall and Winter come around, when I usually feel like hibernating!

How do you get outside with your kids? Please share your tips and challenges below.

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