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Next week (April 30-May 6) is Screen-Free Week and many families are gearing up to turn off the screens and get outside. It’s been a great week of inspiring blogs and I’ve included links to many of them within this post. I’ve also included a list of great outdoor bloggers at the bottom. Please take the time to visit and gain inspiration as I have.

I firmly believe that all kids should get outside everyday but for most spirited kids that becomes a necessity. When the intensity and energy rises to a certain point, I know it’s time to get outside. If I don’t get M out at least once a day, preferable twice, I will regret it. He sleeps better, eats better, listens better, plays better and focuses better if he gets outside. Getting outside also virtually eliminates meltdowns and the whining. So we get him outside everyday whatever weather mother nature is throwing at us that day – cold, sleet, snow, sun or rain. For us it’s not being idealistic but saving our sanity.

When I say that we get outside everyday I mean precisely that. It’s not about whether we’re active outside (though that’s often the case). Getting active is important; I’ve written about getting kids active – thank you to to Bring The Kids for including us in their I Like to Move It Move It – 5 Tips for Keeping Families Active post yesterday. It’s also not about getting into nature everyday. Nature is where I thrive and I firmly believe in the healing powers of nature especially on the psyche but getting out in the natural world isn’t always possible. It’s about getting outside and enjoying the fresh air, it’s about having the sky overhead and the ground under foot. It’s about eliminating the walls continuously surrounding us and impeding our natural movement. Not everyone is as comfortable outside as they are inside so here are ten ways to get outside to help you get started. 

Ten Ways to Get Outside!

  1. Make sure you have the right gear. It’s no fun if you get cold and wet or hot and sunburnt. For most of my readers it’s spring and that means rain gear – pants, jacket and boots. You don’t have to spend a fortune – shop the sales and shop consignment/second hand. One of the only things we believe in spending a little extra on is a good pair of waterproof hiking boots if your tyke is going to be hiking the trails. For more tips on gearing up for the summer visit Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies and Tales of a Mountain Mama. For those sunny days, don’t forget a hat and sunscreen (I got a not-so-friendly reminder of this when we all got sunburnt on the ski hill last Saturday).  For those readers in the southern hemisphere who are going into fall/winter please read my Winter’s Arrival post on winter gear.
  2. Do something you like to do. Some people enjoy hiking while others prefer to go biking. There are tons of activities to do from biking on the city pathways to going backcountry camping. Find things that you enjoy doing as a family. Find ways that you can pursue your individual passions while enjoying family adventures. I enjoy a sunrise photography hike while the rest of the tent (and most of the campsite) sleeps. I love this printable from Nature for Kids.
  3. Play. Playing is one of the best ways for kids to learn and develop new skills. So fly a kite, make a castle in the sandbox, play tag, climb a tree and toss a ball around. Tales of a Mountain Mama, Babes in the Woods, A Little Campy and Go Explore Nature all have great ideas.
  4. Find a time that’s good for you. If you work all day, gather everyone together for an evening walk. If you’re a morning person, try a sunrise hike.
  5. Don’t be afraid of the weather and don’t use it as an excuse. This is why the right gear is my #1 way of getting outside, properly outfitted you can get out everyday even when it’s -39C.
  6. Don’t be afraid of dirt – it washes off. If it’s warm enough it washes off under the hose or under the sprinker; if not there’s always a bath or a facecloth or as Melissa over at Adventure Tykes experienced.. anything at hand.
  7. Bring the indoors out. Do crafts on the outside patio table, read books under the tree at the park or play with cars in the driveway. On Monday, I took my laptop out to the deck to do some design work. Active Kids Club has a great post today on cooking outside with kids.
  8. Relax. Pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea and watch your kid(s) play. Even better, invite a friend over and sit and talk while the kids enjoy each others company.
  9. Find a new place to explore. Calgary has tons of natural parks to find and enjoy but we also go in search of new playgrounds, pathways or water parks.
  10. Set an example. You’ll notice that this isn’t about getting kids outside, it’s about getting families and people outside. Use your positive influence and get out with your kids.

Screen-Free Week is a perfect opportunity to turn off the entertainment and find it within yourselves. Get outside, enjoy the spring air.

What’s your favourite way to get outside? Let’s inspire each other to do more outside.

Great Outdoor Bloggers