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1,000 Hours Outside: 100 Outdoor Ideas

In this article, you will learn about the 1,000 Hours Outside Challenge and get 100 ideas for outdoor fun.

I Challenge You to 1,000 Hours Outdoors

1,000 hours outside: 1,000 hours outdoors challenge image of hand holding butterfly with grass in background.

Your call to Action

There is a battle raging in your castle, the conflict between screen time and nature time. As the keeper of your castle, it’s time for you to gather your knights, I mean family, and throw down your gauntlet. I dare you to get outside for the 1,000 Hours Outside challenge.

There is a Website called www.1000hoursoutside.com. Their purpose is to match nature time with what is reported as the average screen time for children.

If your child can spend 1,200 hours in front of a screen during the year, then they could be spending 1,000 hours outside instead.

With so many children now virtually learning it is even more important for them to get outside.

2021 is the perfect year to make that happen.

Small steps to the great outdoors…

My friend and I were looking for safe ways to get together during the Pandemic. She stumbled on one word “friluftsliv”. It is a Nordic word for open-air-living. (Quick Geography lesson- The Nordic countries are Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Greenland!)

We started to have friluftsliv Fridays.

Looking for ideas of things to do, I came across a post about other Nordic words that don’t really have an English translation. My friend and I decided each season would be another Nordic concept.

Fall Friluftsliv – (pronounced free-loofts-liv) means open-air living: picnics in the park, riding your bike instead of taking your car, or eating dinner on the porch, etc.

Winter Hygge – (pronounced hoo-ga) feeling warm and cozy: hot cocoa by a fire, or bundled up in blankets looking at the stars, brunch with close friends or setting up cozy places in your home are great ways to invite the feeling of hygge.

Spring Gökotta – (pronounced go-kah-tuh) translates to wake up early and hear the bird song: winter is over, it’s finally spring and you are ready to be outside! The opposite of this would be kura skymning that means sitting quietly and pondering at dusk.

Both of these are perfect for Springtime.

Summer Sólarfrí – this means sun vacation. In Iceland, if they have an unusually pleasant day, the boss will call sólarfrí, and everyone will take the day off or leave a few hours early and enjoy the nice weather.

1,000 Hours Outside:100 Ideas to get you started

There is a Swedish saying; “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.

Linda McGurk wrote a book with the same title that explores this idea.

Start your 1,00 hours outside by setting up areas to enjoy the outdoors; hang up a hammock, set up a table and chairs to enjoy meals, or set up play areas for your child. You can also construct a firepit or build an awning or roof covering to get you outside in not so perfect weather.

1,000 Hours Outside graphic: winter Hygge. Two blue mittens holding snowflakes.
  1. Ice skating
  2. Have a bonfire
  3. Collect nature items to bring inside
  4. Make snow cream
  5. Build a snowman
  6. Christmas Caroling
  7. Stargazing
  8. Find a local polar bear swim
  9. Freezing bubbles
  10. Winter scavenger hunt
  11. Cut down your own Christmas tree
  12. Celebrate the winter solstice
  13. Make birdfeeders
  14. Christmas light walk
  15. Build a bird or bat house
  16. Skiing
  17. Sled riding
  18. Paint with ice cubes
  19. Snowball fight
  20. Pinecone or rock painting
  21. Visit a playground
  22. Take winter photos
  23. Catch snowflakes on your tongue
  24. Make a winter garland
  25. Make water balloon ice marbles
1,000 Hours outside: spring Gokotta image of tow children sitting outside in front of flower bushes.
  1. Feed the ducks
  2. Paint with mud
  3. Build an outdoor kitchen for kids
  4. Build a musical wall
  5. Make dandelion playdough
  6. Cloud watching
  7. Shadow drawing
  8. Grow butterflies
  9. Plant a spring vegetable garden
  10. Visit a zoo
  11. Play in the rain
  12. Jump in puddles
  13. Go for an umbrella walk
  14. Chalk the driveway
  15. Plant flowers
  16. Make and fly kites
  17. Take a creek walk
  18. Catch tadpoles
  19. Go for a bike ride
  20. Wash the cars
  21. Camp in the backyard
  22. Play flashlight tag
  23. Build a sandbox
  24. Dig for worms
  25. Have an outdoor tea party
1,000 Hours outside: summer solarfri image of three kids playing at beach.
  1. Go to the beach
  2. Find nearby waterfalls
  3. Find a new hiking trail
  4. Kayak
  5. Make a solar cooker and cook breakfast
  6. Float down a river
  7. Make ice cream in a can
  8. Watch fireworks
  9. Play in the sprinklers
  10. Visit a waterpark
  11. Water balloon fight
  12. Host a glow stick night party
  13. Catch lightning bugs
  14. Outdoor movie night
  15. Make s’mores
  16. Make homemade popsicles
  17. Pick berries
  18. Build a fairy garden
  19. Have a lemonade stand
  20. Find a free concert or festival in a park
  21. Go to the farmers market
  22. Watch the sunset
  23. Have a cookout for dinner
  24. Grow and pick wildflowers
  25. Look for four-leaf clovers
1,000 Hours outside: fall friluftsliv image of mom and child outside in autumn.
  1. Go fishing
  2. Have a “make it float” contest
  3. Pick sunflowers
  4. Crunch the leaves
  5. Visit a pumpkin patch
  6. Make a forest hut
  7. Leaf art
  8. Take a nap in a hammock
  9. Make wind chimes
  10. Make apple butter
  11. Go apple picking
  12. Jump in a leaf pile
  13. Go on a hayride
  14. Find a free fall festival
  15. Go horseback riding
  16. Visit a petting zoo
  17. Plant bulbs for spring
  18. Plant a fall garden
  19. Go trick-or-treating
  20. Make a leaf headband
  21. Do leaf rubbings
  22. Build a terrarium
  23. Build a scarecrow
  24. Have an outdoor read-a-thon
  25. Make a thankful tree

How to follow through

1,000 hours outside seems like a lot of time so here is the math. 1,000 divided by 365 equals 2.73 hours a day. If you spend one day a month fully outside for the whole day or you go camping for the weekend, that will take you to only two hours a day.

Now let’s think about it, we track a lot of things.

How many of you wear a watch that tracks your exercise, sleep, heart rate, etc?

How many people try to get in their 10,000 steps a day?

We track our calories, words in a document (I am at 871 so far), or a weekly screen time report for our phone is sent to us every Sunday.

We are pros at tracking.

There are free printable tracking sheets available online (https://www.1000hoursoutside.com/trackers).

And finally, this is not a competition, it’s about spending time outdoors. So, unplug, get outside, run wild, and get dirty. 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I, I took the one less traveled by and that has made all of the difference. -Robert Frost

"xoxo Shannon" from Joy &Sunshine Collective.

Hello, I am Shannon Turske from Joy and Sunshine Collective. I enjoy doing God’s work from the church basement where I have been a preschool teacher for the last 18 years. My husband and I have two newly grown and flown children. Our son just graduated college and is working his dream job and my daughter just got married and is in her first year teaching preschool at our church. It is a joy to see her every day at work. They developed a love of the great outdoors as children when we donated our TV back in 2005.

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Julie Lawrence

Monday 14th of December 2020

Live your seasonal activities ideas! Can’t wait to give them a try!