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My husband and I recently admitted that screens were once again taking up too much of our family’s time. As I looked for substitute activities, I found the book, 15 Minutes Outside.

One of the weird things about me, having grown up camping, gardening, and working on a farm, is that 15 minutes outside seems like a long time. I’m not a fan of getting dirty, I can’t stand mosquitos (though they love me) and I absolutely, positively hate being cold. Couple that with the fact that almost all of my responsibilities take place inside and it’s a wonder I even sampled the book. But I did.

Even though my husband is amazing about getting our kids outside to play, I have felt guilty about my indoor ways. First, I know that the sun and fresh air are good for my health (and my kids’). Second, I love the idea of using nature to teach kids. I have the Handbook of Nature Study and I’ve looked longingly at the great blog that inspires homeschoolers to use it. I did the first outing that was recommended in our neighborhood and it was a terrific time! But sadly, the first outing was the last. Finally, I have been wanting to spend more time just playing with my kids and enjoying them. I tend to teach and train and then I’m often too tired for more.

The Challenge

For those reasons and to entice the kids away from the screens, I announced that I was going to spend fifteen minutes outside with the kids every day. The kids were excited and started thinking of all the fun places we could go. Pathetically, they reminded me of our one and only nature outing. At lunch, we shared the news with Dad, who thought it was a great idea. As my son played with our dog (pictured bottom right), I kept thinking of how I was going to endure 15 minutes on the coldest, wettest days. My husband said, “It’s torture for her.” I nodded, surprised that my husband knew what I was feeling. Then I realized that he was telling my son not to let the dog get so close to the food on the table.

Right after lunch, I donned my jacket and headed out for a game of basketball P-I-G. (The kids reminded me of my commitment–already.) I was shocked that even my homework-addicted teen joined the fun. Not only did he join, but he thanked me later for the invitation. I have to admit that I planned on setting my iPhone timer for 15 minutes. The kids would have none of that, though, and we ended up playing for half an hour. We had a little bit of a nature study in that we tried to identify where the woodpecker pecking sound was coming from. But mostly, it was just good, refreshing fun.

To make it less torture for me, I plan to photograph, blog, and scrapbook our 15-minute outdoor adventures this year on my personal blog. I’ll be indoors for most of that! It isn’t realistic for me to blog daily, so my goal is a weekly roundup post. I’m also not promising to get outside when there’s a tornado warning, it’s -50F, or I’m really sick. But I’m willing to get out of my comfort zone.

Here are some links with more on the challenge:

P.S. I’d love to have some company! Care to join me?

 

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