Did you hear about that 1000 hours outside goal? It was popping up all over my Instagram and friend group text messages at the beginning of 2021. If you haven’t (or even if you have), it is just like it sounds — striving for 1000 hours outside this year. If you do some quick math (on a calculator, of course) that comes out to 2.7 hours outside a day. Studies show that outside time is healthy & essential for our children.
In the middle of summer, that number is EASY. We eat all our meals on the back porch, we play in backyards, we meet up with friends at parks, we spend FULL DAYS by the pool and complete weekends camping. The sun is out longer, literally begging us to play outside. But what about the winter? How are you supposed to get the 2.7 hours in then?!?! The running back and forth from the house to the car to the store is only 5 minutes max. We may live in a place with cold, snowy winters, but we also live in a place with sunshine year round! It is very possible to make getting outside part of your daily or almost daily routine.
Get a Zoo Membership
The zoo is one of the best outdoor activities this city has to offer! It is beautiful, engaging, and a healthy workout (especially if you are pushing a double stroller all around.) There are enough buildings to go in and warm up a bit before you go back outside. My tip is to try to go in the morning when the sun is still on the mountain, the afternoon can get pretty shady at the zoo.
Meet up with Friends at the Park
My kids will play outside twice as long as normal when they are playing with friends. It is just more fun to run around the playground with people you don’t see all day, every day. Sometimes, I take the girls to the park alone just to get out of the house, but it is always better when I plan a bit ahead and text a friend. It also helps for accountability because sometimes I can chicken out when the weather is a bit too chilly, but if I know we’re meeting up with friends, I need to suck it up and change out of my warm PJs. A winter hat, gloves, boots, and a beanie are also pretty cozy, too.
Take a Walk + Listen to a Podcast
This works best if you have stroller-bound children, but adding in podcast time gives me to motivation to get loaded up for a walk and even walk farther while I try to finish another episode. I don’t get much time to just listen to podcasts, so I’ve really started cherishing these times. Plus you can get sleeping bags for your stroller seats these days that keep your babies TOASTY!
If you have older children, make this a bike ride or add in scooters!
Some of the prettiest hikes are in the winter. Make sure you have a good pair of winter boots on to keep you stable just in case you run into snow or ice and water and snacks to keep you going. Older kids can run around discovering things and little ones can be worn in a carrier.
Sit in a Hot Tub
We don’t have a hot tub, but my in-laws do! Hot tubs are SO fun to do in the winter and if the temperature is bath tub level (90-100 degrees), the whole family can enjoy it together. Plan a trip with a hot tub you can sit in (bonus points if there is snow) or make a plan to visit your friends who have one!
Try Outdoor Dining
While most restaurants are open again for indoor dining (as I write this post), outdoor dining can be something that you do year round! We try to eat outside as much as we can. That means that we bundled up like crazy when restaurants were closed and it was 40 degrees out, but it also means that when those 60 degree days hit in the middle of winter, you can find us eating out at Chipotle on the patio. Why not enjoy some fresh air?!
Play in the Snow
When it snows, get the snowsuits out and the hot cocoa ready. It is always worth it to bundle up and play in some fresh snow. It doesn’t matter how long you last, playing in snow is one of life’s joys!
Drive to a Fun Walking Path
Sometimes, it can be hard to walk around your neighborhood block for the millionth time. We love to walk around the Broadmoor, Rock Ledge Ranch, and Garden of the Gods. A change of scenery can keep morale high for everyone in involved. I also love that I can just let my 2-year-old walk on her own without worrying she is going to run into the street!
Hopefully some of these ideas can help keep you inspired to get outside even during these colder days!