4 Ways to Spend More Time Outside

Time outside is simple, cheap, and good for you & your child. Playing outdoors involves movement, choices, exploration, discovery, and interaction – all important ingredients for both you and your child’s health and wellness. Even 20 minutes outside is a sensory experience for your baby, full of fresh air, new sounds, smells, textures, and colors. 

Our 2022 goal is to support families of young children 0-5 with free and fun resources, activity ideas, checkout items, and events to spend more time outside this year! Here are 4 ways to get started on your commitment to spend more time outside.

1. Join the 1,000 Hours Outside Challenge

First Chance staff and local families are joining in the 1,000 Hours Outside challenge! The challenge is to record 1,000 hours outside with your child in 2022.

Why 1,000 Hours Outside?

The total number of hours isn’t as important as simply spending more time outside. “1,000 Hours Outside” was started by a mom concerned with the amount of time kids spend on screens. The average American child spends 1,200 hours a year in front of a screen. She wanted to inspire her children to spend as much time, if not more, outside, and her idea has sparked a movement of families across the globe who are tracking their hours outside and finding creative ways to play in nature. And even if you don’t meet 1,000 hours outside – it’s the best goal to fail at trying!

1,000 Hours Outside Starter Activity Kits

To help you meet the challenge, we’ve created a free 1,000 Hours Outside starter activity kit! The kit includes printed fun time-tracker sheets, outdoor activity ideas, a snack, and supplies to get you started on your journey to more time outdoors! You can pick up the starter kit while supplies last at our Lend & Learn Toy Library (1002 Fay St, Columbia) on weekdays 9am-3:30pm.

Helpful Links to Get Started:

Follow Lend & Learn on Facebook for updates on events, activity kits, and nature activity ideas: https://www.facebook.com/LnLLibraries

Hop on to the 1,000 Hours Outside facebook page for encouraging posts to help you meet the challenge: https://www.facebook.com/1000hoursoutside

Visit the 1,000 Hours Outside website for downloads, blog posts, podcast episodes, and an online store: https://www.1000hoursoutside.com/

Daniel Boone Regional Library created a blog post with information about the 1,000 Hours Outside challenge with links to available books for caregivers on outdoor play: https://www.dbrl.org/kids/1000-hours-outside-movement

2. Participate in Pop-Up Lend & Learn Events

Another way to spend more time outside is to attend Pop-Up Lend & Learn events. Outdoor Pop-Ups are free, fun, and give families with children 0-5 an opportunity to safely interact with others. These events will take place in parks in different parts of Columbia, Boone County and the surrounding counties. Your family will be able to explore different parks, play on the playground, participate in fun learning activities, socialize with staff and other families, eat yummy snacks, and take home activities! Watch for our announcements about Pop-Ups on the Lend & Learn facebook page!

3. Borrow a Hiking Backpack Child Carrier from Lend & Learn

Family using hiking child carrier

In partnership with Missouri River Relief, families can now borrow hiking child carriers from Lend & Learn Toy Library! Carriers are expensive and only used for a limited time. Using the lending library to borrow a carrier gives all families the opportunity to go on a hiking adventure. Columbia and the surrounding areas have fantastic trails to take your child on a nature exploration. There are 5 hiking child carriers available for checkout, and children must be between 16-40 pounds and able to sit upright on their own. You can learn more about the checkout process here.

4. Look for Nature Activity Ideas

There are unique discoveries for your child and family in every season. Winter may be harder with the cold weather, but your child can experience unique concepts in the winter months such as temperature, snow, ice, bird watching, and the night sky! Read our blog post about Winter Activities with fun ideas to play in the winter with your little ones.

Not much of a winter cold weather fan? Do what you can to get a few hours in here and there, especially on those unseasonably warm days, and plan to catch up once the warmer weather arrives!

Throughout 2022, our team will give you resources and nature activities for every season to help your family spend more time outdoors. We think you’ll be surprised at how much your family will enjoy the challenge, and we look forward to seeing photos and hearing about the creative ideas YOU come up with to meet the 1,000 Hours Outside Challenge!