100 Days of Outdoor Play

100 days of outdoor play For the next 100 days my family will be spending time outdoors. Want to go out with us? Pledge to join!

Children are spending more time in front of screens and less time playing outdoors. Author and expert Richard Louv explains that our children are suffering from nature-deficit disorder. Which is exactly what it sounds like–a lack of nature is causing children distress.

Keeping our kids cooped up inside may result in more emotional, behavioral, and developmental challenges.

Because sometimes they just need room to breathe. 

It’s finally summer–the perfect time to get some fresh air. For many families that means the kids get more time at home.

And I love a good challenge.

In our house, we are preparing to spend these next three months outside as much as possible. We sent the TVs on summer vacation and as of today, we are beginning 100 days of outdoor play. Follow on Instagram to see how we are playing.

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I would venture to say that most adults are suffering from nature-deficit disorder too. In many homes, family time has been replaced by technology. Here are four tips to ramp up your outdoor play and get your family outdoors this summer.

  1. Reduce screen time. If you find it hard to add outdoor play time, you may need to cut back on screen time. This can be hard for children and adults alike. When we are using screens, we are much more likely to be sitting sedentary indoors. Yet children need ample amounts of physical activity. Therefore, reducing screen time will help to provide the extra time necessary to get outside.
  2. Keep it simple. The best kind of outdoor time is unstructured free play. That means the play should generally be driven and created by the children themselves. Sometimes it’s fun to mix it up and add in adult-directed activities, but keep it very simple. Attempting a Pinterest-worthy outdoor activity on a regular basis is exhausting.
  3. Don’t set a minimum. I try to get my kids outside for at least one hour per day. But that doesn’t always happen. On those busy days, even five minutes is better than none at all. If you want to set time-based goals for getting outside–that’s great. But if you don’t reach those goals daily, remember that every little minute counts–don’t underestimate the benefits of just a few breaths of fresh air.
  4. Get out of your comfort zone. Not everyone is comfortable traipsing around in the woods. We don’t all love to splash around in puddles. But we can still try new things. When we get out of our comfort zone we are teaching our kids to do the same.

How is your family going to spend this extra time during the summer? Follow along on Instagram to see how we are playing!

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Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.