1000 hours outside

Do you value spending time outside? Do you go out every day? Depending on our lifestyles and location, it may actually be difficult to incorporate the outdoors into our daily life.

I have valued spending time outside all my life because my parents and grandparents valued spending time outside. Where we lived in Germany was also an ideal place for kids to be outside: small neighbourhoods, quiet streets, close to forests and nature conservation land, and close to farms and ranch land (if you can imagine “ranch land” in Germany). It was like fairytale woodlands. Minus the wolves.

We biked to school, had an outdoor pool in the town, had walking trails, climbing trees, gardened with our grandparents, and played in the quiet street all day long.

We moved to Canada and it was more of what we loved, immensely so. Surrounded by mountains, trees, and rivers, some days we would be outside seemingly from sunrise to sunset! We climbed and ran and played all day. We just had to learn to be bear aware!

But life changes. We move, we get jobs, we get busy, sometimes we get kids. And it becomes a balancing game of tasks and values and connections. And sometimes we become city dwellers where nature can be hard to find. Sometimes we need a bit more motivation to form the habit as adults.

Last year I found the 1000 Hours Outside challenge, and while we didn’t track our hours, it did motivate us to get outside more. With two small children there can be a lot of prep involved, but I notice the habit is sticking. This year we are tracking our time, and using some of the “prompts” they provide to get outdoors. It can be so simple and doesn’t require any equipment.

We’ve had winter picnics, which we have never done, cookie walks, hot chocolate adventures, animal tracking in the forest, making branch flags, sledding, follow the leader, bird watching/listening, tree stump searching, and more.

Some of the things I noticed in my family: the kids were more balanced and had less upsets, I felt more uplifted and comfortable, the house stayed cleaner (haha), and there is so much learning that happens outside. Sometimes we would zip into the forest nearby, play in the backyard, or go to the nearby lake for a picnic.

Are you participating this year? How is it going for you so far? It’s not so much about the hours you accumulate, but what you experience together.



  1. Thank you for sharing about the challenge! I was inspired to jump right in and try it myself. I’m three days in, and have already been noticing benefits. Thanks again:)


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