Check out these tips from our friends from 1000 Hours Outside:
Spending large chunks of time outside fill childhood up with movement and with memories! Here are five tips to help lengthen your outside play.
Start with a hike.
When you are in the middle of a hike you are stuck in nature. There’s no getting around it. You have to finish and so starting with a hike is our top tip! Take your hike before playground time or hitting the beach. If you choose a hike that is along a river or has some other changes of scenery it will better capture your children’s attention and help lengthen your time outside.
Kids are notoriously slow. They are soaking life in. Follow their lead. If they want to try and capture butterflies don’t rush it. If they want to spend an hour throwing stones in a river or building a wall out of sticks let it be. If they want to lay on the ground and watch the ants work don’t push them to move on.
Consider the season and your clothing.
One major deterrent to time outside is discomfort. This is a legitimate concern so plan accordingly. Save hiking for cooler days. If it’s going to be a hot and humid outside head to a place that has a water option. Avoid marshy areas when the bugs are at their worst. We are constantly adjusting our activities to fit the weather because when children are grumpy we tend to cut our nature time short.
Pack extra food, water, and a change of clothing.
Nothing will end your outing quicker than running out of food and water. Pack what you think is enough and then leave just one extra water bottle and one extra box of some sort of snack in the car. Keep an extra full outfit (including socks, underwear and possibly even a pair of cheap flip-flops) in the car if you can. Having a towel or two on hand can be helpful as well!
Take your inside activities outside!
Life is busy. Whenever possible, try and take your inside activities outside. Can you sit outside to eat your dinner? Could you put your son’s homework on a clipboard and send him outside? How about a game of Candy Land at a nearby park? Even scheduling in some family exercise time can be helpful.