This past spring one of our Mom Advisory Panelists clued us into the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge (read more about it here). What began as one family's commitment to spend at least as much time outside as the average American child spends in front of screens each year, has become much more than that. Families all over the nation have been inspired by the challenge and are making their own pledge to put down the devices and head outdoors.
Today, we're thrilled to have Ginny Yurich, the creator of 1000 Hours Outside, joining us on the blog with some encouraging words and great advice for making sure cooler weather doesn't keep you and your kids cooped up.
Don’t Let Jack Frost Keep You Inside
Here’s some great news: The things that kids love to do most also provide them with the most developmental benefits! Kids need play! They need time to sift through boredom and develop their inner creativity.
The list of positive outcomes from nature play in particular has breadth and depth. From impacting large motor skills to small motor skills, to social skills to reading and writing skills, plus everything in between, outside play is a key component for childhood development. When kids are climbing up slides in the summer, they are building strong shoulder muscles that are necessary for holding their arms in the correct writing posture once they reach school age. When kids are climbing up snow hills in the winter, they are building stable core muscles which are needed for sitting upright at a desk.
When the days are long and it’s flip-flop weather, it is pretty easy to slot in outside play. But as the days grow shorter and Jack Frost begins to show up, it can be more tempting to stay in. The problem is that children can be short-changed if they don’t get adequate time to move and wander outdoors throughout all seasons of the year. In a day and age where extracurricular activities abound, it’s easy to forget the importance of child-led ideas. You may get dozens of reminders for enrollment in this or that, and yet not get any suggestions encouraging you to simply open the back door and let the child determine what to do.
One of the simplest solutions to providing continual nature play for kids is to invest in some good gear. According to Lone Cone, “Fun shouldn’t depend on the weather!” Neither should development! We owe it to our kids to make an effort to get them into nature year round.
When we are talking good gear, we must begin at the feet! Cold piggies will send a child inside in a heartbeat. MudBoots from Lone Cone are waterproof and they are insulated. We pair our mud boots with a pair of wool socks and this makes all the difference for our kids. They can stomp, run, climb, and sled without having to deal with frozen toes.
As we enter into fall, we are looking forward to the change of seasons and the variety that nature brings to our lives. These variations will greatly contribute to brain growth for our kids. We love to visit our favorite hiking spots year-round to observe the vast differences in sights, sounds and smells. Our kids enjoy the different activities that each season brings. They know that apple picking is coming, followed shortly after by massive leaf piles, and then the first of the snowflakes.
This year we know our Lone Cone MudBoots will take us through all these exciting changes! Jack Frost is coming and we will be ready to welcome him with open arms… and warm feet!
Visit 1000hoursoutside.com to learn more about Ginny and her family, as well as for awesome resources, like a free Challenge tracking chart and activity guides.