Easy Ways to Add to Your 1000 Hours Outside


It’s July, it’s summer, and it’s hot. Your children are bored. You’re tired of hearing that they’re bored. What’s a parent to do? Well, there are easy ways to add to your 1000 Hours Outside!

If you’re not familiar with 1000 Hours Outside, check out the post I wrote last summer about it. It was started by a local family and has been gaining national attention through the years. The basic premise is to make a goal for time spent outside during the year. You’d be surprised just how much time you can spend outdoors when you start keeping track!

Amid the planned vacations and summer camps and classes, there are slivers of time in which your children may run free. If you’re feeling like you’re stuck on fun ideas for your family, those slivers of time can easily be filled if you just add nature. Add dirt, sand, and water to the time you are already spending outdoors and you’ll be good to go. Here are some easy ways to add to your 1000 Hours Outside this summer!

Just Add Dirt

One easy way to add to your 1000 Hours Outside is to add dirt. Admittedly, dirt is not my first choice when I think of “fun.” However, there are endless opportunities for learning and growth if we just allow our kids to get a little messy. Chances are, you’ve got dirt around or near you. If it’s not right outside your door, it may be just a short walk away.

Here’s what your kids can do:

Just Add Sand

Another easy way to add to your 1000 Hours Outside is to add sand. While the next set of activities are easily carried out in a sandbox, you can also purchase a container and bags of sand from your local dollar store. Alternatively, pack up the kids, head to the beach, and have some of these activities handy!

Here’s what your kids can do:

  • Add different colored sand to their sandbox as a way to change it up
  • Bring buckets of water to the sandbox to make sandcastles
  • Use measuring scoops instead of shovels
  • Grab some paper and glue, and create a picture using glue and sand
  • Bring your sandbox toys to the beach
  • Hide toys in the sandbox and let your kids “dig” them out

Just Add Water

A third easy way to add to your 1000 Hours Outside is to add water. You can use a hose or bring buckets of water from inside your house. Adding water will cool off your kids in the hot summer sun. It is also a great opportunity to do some cleaning outside!

Here’s what your kids can do:

  • Run through the sprinklers
  • Pour water into different sized containers using measuring cups
  • Play with water beads (prep the night before)
  • Chisel away at ice cubes
  • Grab a container and wash their favorite toys (that are washable, of course)
  • Throw water balloons around
  • Hop in a kayak to explore a local lake or canal

Add These To Your Activities!

There’s one last easy way to add to your 1000 Hours Outside this summer. Take your kids’ playtime up a notch by adding in something a little out of the ordinary!

You can add:

  • Bubbles to the water table or kiddie pool
  • Water beads to the kiddie pool
  • Sand to the water table to make a “texture table”
  • Shaving cream to the water table or pool

It’s July, it’s hot, and it’s the perfect opportunity to add to your 1000 Hours Outside tracking sheet. These easy ways to add to your time outside are sure to excite your kids and grant you at least a few minutes of uninterrupted play!

Feeling the urge to explore the mitten state? Check out Katie’s post on 100 Day Trips for Detroit Families to Take This Summer.


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