Our Five Ring Circus: 1000 Hours Outside

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

1000 Hours Outside


1000 Hours Outside

Last year, we participated in 1000 Hours Outside, and we are doing it again this year. Truthfully, we will reach that time well before the end of the year. Playing and exploring outdoors isn’t just a parenting trend for us. It’s simply how I was raised, and I want my children to experience that gift. 

The first decade of my life was spent exploring the woods, creeks, and ponds that surrounded my house. I was truly outdoors from sunrise until after sunset. If I wasn’t home, I was hiking, swimming, fishing, or “touring” our state with my dad and nephew. The second decade of my life was spent riding my horse. Almost all of my favorite childhood memories involve being outside. 

Parenting kids these days is a whole new ballgame! While I fully believe in the benefits of technology, I think free play and exploring the outdoors is every bit as important. There can easily be a good balance between outdoor play and exercise and electronics and technology!

I believe in full transparency, so escaping outdoors is also a form of survival for us and our kids in this stage of our lives! Liam and Coen are full of energy - and our household can’t always handle their antics. We absolutely NEED to go outside almost every single day, rain or shine, freezing or roasting, in sickness or in good health! TRUST ME. 

So we do. We play in our backyard. We hike through the woods behind our home. We take our dogs for walks. We make the rounds through local parks and playgrounds. We explore zoos, lakes, and hiking trails. And it is 1000% worth it! 

I’m not going to list all the benefits of spending time outdoors, because despite what TikTok and Facebook Reels think, I’m certain most people reading this know exactly what those benefits are! I’m just sharing my own personal experience, and why it’s important for my family. All I can say, is even 5 minutes outdoors is an instant mood lift for us, and can completely reset a bad day! 

Take today for example. 

The return to reality after holiday break was tough. I only slept 3 hours, it was pouring, the bus was over 10 minutes late, Hayden’s annual early intervention evaluation was delayed 30 minutes, and Liam was sent home for throwing up after lunch. He came home, and he was perfectly FINE. Liam and Coen were bouncing off the walls by 3 PM, and something needed to be done.

Despite the rain and the mud, I told the boys to put on sneakers and raincoats, we loaded the stroller into the car, we got our dog ready for a walk, and we grabbed Lily from the bus stop. We enjoyed a child-led adventure at our local park. I still got in a workout, we basically had the park to ourselves, and the kids really enjoyed walking through the holiday light display that we hadn’t driven through yet! 

In the grand scheme of things, it’s all of the little moments added up that mean the most! 

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A few of my favorite moments:

❤️ Liam putting on the personalized Toy Story backpack we got from our local BuyNothing group, and wearing it for the entire walk.

❤️ Coen’s excitement over all the lights and inflatables.

❤️Hayden sleeping so peacefully the entire time.

❤️ Lily desperately trying to stand up a fallen 20 foot inflatable Santa, and her pride over pushing the double stroller, which weighed almost as much as her, for the entire 1.5 miles. 

❤️ Liam wading through the deep end of a big puddle, causing us all to laugh.

❤️ The family of 4 deer that passed us several times, and Coen calling them Santa’s cute reindeer.

The best part of our 2 hour outdoor adventure, though, was the fact that we all returned to the car happier and less stressed! Fresh air, fun, and exercise was good for our bodies, our minds, and our well being. 2 hours down, 998(+) to go! 

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