We lead busy lives, and sometimes it is tough to feel like you have enough time to spend time outside with your kiddos every day. As I wrote about in 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids, many times I was the obstacle to making sure we got our dose of fresh air daily.
Not only is time outside good for us, but also a wonderful parenting tool that can actually make our lives easier.
Here are 10 ways to get outside every day with less stress and more joy:
1. Fit the outdoors into your routine. Whatever you are doing, see if you can take it outside. An indoor toy can go outside, dinners can become picnics, and homework or reading can be done on a blanket.
2. 15 Minutes outside before (fill in the blank). My kids would get ready faster before we went anywhere, including school, if I allowed them 15 minutes outside before we had to leave. Try it; it works!
3. Snack time outside. Have a picnic blanket by the door and bring it out for snack time. Chances are, the kids will stay outside afterward.
4. Playdates outside. Kids would always ask to come to our house because I allowed everyone to play outside. Children inevitably went home muddy, so I gave parents an option to pack an extra set of clothes.
5. Stop by the playground on the way home. A playground pit stop allows kids to get their wiggles out and helps prevent everyone from rushing inside when you get home.
6. Boots aka outdoor shoes. After destroying many pairs of shoes with mud, when the kids got home, they'd take off their tennis shoes and put on a pair of boots, which we called our outdoor shoes. Our sneakers lasted a little longer and our outdoor shoes stayed muddy.
7. Take a nature walk (around the block). We didn't have much space to roam, so when my kids asked for nature walks, we'd take a walk around the block or neighborhood and see what was changing in the nature around us without having to go farther than we had time for in the moment.
8. Look up. It may sound silly, but many times we forget of what beauty exists with a different perspective. The underside of a tree is beautiful art; clouds are fun to watch race; and even sun and light dances in a different way.
9. Ask open-ended questions. "What would be fun to try that you have never done before?" "What could we do outside tomorrow?" You'll be surprised how much you can learn about one another outside. For 50 open-ended questions that ignite conversation, check out Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards.
10. Explore imagination. There weren't any books that encouraged my children to talk and write about our outdoor adventures, so I created one. PJ's Backyard Adventures is an early reader series that allows kids to explore time outside around the world, just like the main character PJ (who also loves his boots), and to find words hidden in the pictures too.
Want more ideas for easy ways to get outside? Get 365 ideas in my book 15 Minutes Outside, invite me to give a parenting or education talk: Weaving Outdoor Play into Our Everyday Lives, and download 50 Outdoor Activities for Busy Families for free.
Wishing you memorable moments outside, every day!