5 Ways to Spend 1,000 Hours Offline and Outdoors
If you have fond memories of playing outside as a kid, count yourself lucky. Today, more children are spending less time outdoors, trading in games of tag for TikTok. According to the Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, U.S. children ages 8 to 12 spend an average of four to six hours a day watching or using screens. Teens spend up to nine hours, which can add up 1,200 hours a year. To help kids get offline and outside, CircleAround sourced five strategies parents can try.
1Try the ‘1,000 Hours Outside’ Challenge
After hearing that kids can spend up to 1,200 hours on screens a year, mom Ginny Yurich made it a goal for her family to spend 1,000 hours outside. She created a movement called 1,000 Hours Outside to help hundreds of other families around the world reconnect with nature. Her blog provides a series of resources, from nature programs to creative outdoor ideas. She also created a series of time trackers families can use that produce a piece of artwork charting their progress in the end.
2Connect With Outdoor Support Groups
If 1,000 hours a year sounds overwhelming, Twinkl Home Ed has a more approachable version that’s especially helpful for parents who homeschool. Twinkl Home Ed has Facebook groups where families can find support and new ideas on how to get kids outside. The website also features fun resources for outdoor adventure inspo, such as Outside In Challenge Cards.
3Use Apps in Constructive Ways
The Activate Fitness app is great for families who enjoy fitness and sports-based activities. The app is part fitness tracker, part activity-gamification, and it helps families bond while getting outside. According to CNBC, “A child earns screen time only if specific activity levels are met. For example, 1,000 steps could earn the device user five minutes of screen time.” The app also integrates with health programs such as FitBit and Apple Health.
4Plan an Off-Grid Vacation
Ideally, we’d all have plenty of time to be outside. But the reality is we usually only have limited vacation time to be off phones and computers. Still, we can maximize family vacation time by taking an off-the-grid holiday. If you’re not a pro-camper already, you can turn to companies such as Tentrr that provide minimalist accommodations for those looking to get outdoors with the kids.
5Get Into Gardening With the Kids
Gardening with the kids is a great way to spend less time on screens, especially if you don’t have access to nature. Many cities have community gardens where you can grow food and flowers and connect with your neighbors. You can also garden indoors with your kids. Ciara Benko is a hobbyist botanist who makes fun, informative tutorials on how to make the most of small apartments with her website The Jungle Upstairs.
The Bottom Line
It’s never too late to challenge your kids to get outside more. Trying some of these tips as a family can also be a bonding experience everyone will enjoy. Even if you’re only able to encourage your kids outside for 30 minutes or an hour every day, it will make a lasting difference.