By TMoM Team Member Sandy Harper
Individual goal setting is often hard to keep up with after about a month. Typically, goal failure is due to not having an accountability partner. Hence, why not make a goal where the entire family gets to participate?
Try setting a goal that holds interest for everyone in the family, time in nature! No matter a person’s interests, nature has it all. Time in nature includes but is not limited to reading, painting/drawing, sports, hiking, swimming, sleeping, eating, bird watching, bonfires, camping, playing, etc.
Still, there is going to be days where the last thing you want to do is get out in nature. When those days come around, here are a few ideas and incentives to keep your time in nature goal alive.
1000 Hours Outside
Ginny Yurich started an idea that has become a worldwide movement, 1000 Hours Outside. The goal is to spend 1000 hours outside in a year’s time. No matter if you miss the 1000-hour mark or go over it, you still come out a winner! There is no losing when you spend any amount of time in nature. The 1000 Hours Outside website has free tracker printables. You can use them to keep track of your time in nature. Often, it is motivating to have a physical reminder that you or the kids can color.
Family Hiking Adventure
One way to stay physically fit is walking. So why not take it a step further and try hiking. This wonderful activity can include children and grandparents. Often, hiking trails get a rating by its difficulty level. This helps you plan what trail is appropriate for your family’s abilities. The website (and app), All Trails, is great for searching local hiking spots and specific information about each trail. Try planning one family hike each month. Also, choose a different trail each month. At the end of the year, you will have had twelve different memory making adventures!
Don’t ever feel like this goal forces you to leave home every day! Your own backyard is perfect for time in nature, no matter its size. Eating lunch, reading, stargazing, playing catch, nature journaling are only a few examples of ways to enjoy time in nature. Are you having trouble enticing the kiddos to get outside instead of watching television? Create play spaces for them! Here is a blog that gives ideas on DIY: Outdoor Kid Play Spaces. There are even ideas for families that do not have a traditional backyard.
Try New Playgrounds
At least, once a month try out a new playground. New, as in, your family has never been there before. If you have already visited all the playgrounds in your town, then try a surrounding town. Finding playgrounds in your area is an easy Google search. If you are on vacation one month, use that opportunity to find a playground in that town. Additionally, if you are driving to your vacation spot, look up playgrounds that are on the way. This is a great way for everyone to stretch their legs and have some physical fun. You can even eat your lunch there, instead of sitting more in a restaurant. By the end of the year, your family will have played at twelve new playgrounds!
Don’t Let Weather Stop You
It is easy to see rain, hot or cold temperatures and think, “we can’t go outside”. That is actually rarely the case. Yes, there are times of extreme weather. For example, these would include thunderstorms, blizzards, and unsafe heat. All of which are infrequent and short lived. If it is a rainy warm spring or summer day, there is nothing wrong with getting outside. Kids LOVE jumping in puddles! Dance, play and just have fun. People and clothes dry. Read the book, There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather, by Linda McGurk. This book will help show that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. It will inspire you to take time in nature when you normally wouldn’t have before.
No matter how you spend or define time in nature, just get out there. Throughout the year, make individual and/or family outdoor goals. Rotate family member choices, or throw ideas into a basket and pick one out randomly. On the other hand, just go outside and see where the wind takes you. Either way, please don’t over think it. “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Gary Snyder