Have you seen the 1000 Hours Outside initiative? I came across it a few years ago and have followed along, but have never participated. The community is a global movement that encourages families to get outside and play 1000 hours in a year. Although I’ve watched from the sidelines for the past few years, I decided that this year we would participate.
My family of three has always been active, valuing our time spent outdoors. When the world shut down in 2020, our time spent outside ramped up as it was one of the only activity options at the time. I was not trying to stay inside with a two-year-old! As the city re-opened we have continued to consistently spend a good portion of our time outdoors, hiking and camping locally. So I’m excited to aim for this 1000 hour goal. I know it will push us to get creative and make that outdoor time even more of a priority.
Want to join the fun? Here are the specifics about 1000 Hours Outside.
Who- The idea was launched by a Michigan mom of five. She and her husband noticed there were fewer and fewer kids out and about on their own family hikes and trips, and they decided to do more research and launch the community.
What- A community of encouragement, your own family tracker and rules, aiming for 1000 hours of outdoor play in a calendar year. You’ll find an email that gets sent out with encouragement and an Instagram community you can follow along with.
Where- Your own backyard! Try a state or local park, a nearby day trip, a camping adventure, a splash pad, or a sledding hill. We’re lucky to have the seasons here in Indiana, but that means you might have to get a little creative. The 1000 Hours Outside community suggests bulking hours in the more mild months to meet the goal.
When- My family started with the beginning of 2022, but it’s not too late, just start now and continue for the next 12 months.
Why? To try to match the average amount of time that kids spend on screens each year- close to 1200 hours, which is insane and sad to me.
Here’s how it works, just track your outdoor time this year, aiming for 1000 hours. Reading or homework outside do count. The car trip there and time spent sleeping in a tent doesn’t count, but it’s your family, make up your own rules!
Need an idea? Try this roundup of local outdoor spots to enjoy. Take a walk or a hike, plan a meet-up with friends for a picnic and outdoor playdate. Make it a daily habit to pick the kids up from school and head straight to a park for an hour. When you have a free weekend plan that family camping trip.
1000 hours a year. That’s about 84 hours a month, or 21 hours a week, or an average of 2-3 hours a day. Better go get outside!
And yes, there’s an app for that. Or a paper tracker if that’s more your style (these paper trackers are seriously cool). I’ve got my app ready to track these 2022 experiences, join me!