A Journey to 1000 Hours Outside: Whether you make it or not, you win!


Like many parents, I really struggle knowing how to balance the use of screens in our family.  They are a necessary and nice tool for connection and learning about all the amazing resources in the world, but they can also be such a distraction.  No matter what, we know screens have become an ever-increasing piece of our day-to-day reality.   

In 2021, I decided my ONE goal would be that instead of trying to focus on limiting screens, I would focus on doing more of what I WANT.  What I WANT is to enjoy just “being” with my kids and my family.  I find the best way to do that is to get outside.

We joined a group called the “1000 Hours Outside Challenge”, an online resource I found through Facebook.  According to their website, their purpose is “to attempt to match nature time with screen time.  If kids can consume media through screens 1200 hours a year on average, then the time is there and at least some of it and can and should be shift towards a more productive and healthier outcome!” 

Link to “1000 Hours Outside” website:


The challenge is simple: spend 1000 hours outside in 2021 and use their tracker to mark your time spent outdoors.  We were even able to print the tracker poster “blue print” sized via a local printing service for about $3.50.  This makes it even easier and more fun to hang and track in our home.

tracker photo

Link to print your own tracker:


We have enjoyed following along through Facebook and seeing how other families from all over the world are completing the challenge.  It’s really fun to get to see other cultures, landscapes, and the weather, and how they enjoy their time outside.

So far, we have been able to CHALLENGE ourselves to try new things outside like ice fishing, ice skating, and going for hikes no matter the weather.  Now that the weather is getting nicer, I know we will find it easier to enjoy the outdoors.  I am excited to continue challenging our family to try new and exciting outdoor activities, explore new parks, and find creative and inexpensive ways to enjoy time outside at home every day!

The 1000 hours challenge has really brought our family together.  We have logged 112 hours as of April 1st.  We get excited to go outside and to add to our tracker.  My 7-year-old has really deepened his love for exploring the wonders of nature.  I have been inspired by the “1000 Hours Outside” group and seeing the amazing ideas of things to do outside and how to just enjoy “being” with my kids.

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We know there’s room for more time outdoors and this challenge is keeping us motivated!  A recent quote from the 1000 Hours page said, “You’ll never regret joining in on this journey!  Whether you hit the goal or not, you win!” 

I have to agree, we have already won. I encourage you to join the challenge too!  Ask me your questions in the comments below!

And if you’re looking for a perfect place to start your journey, check out Heckrodt Wetland Reserve: All-Season Imaginative Play and Exploration

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