The Gift of a 5 Minute Habit
by Jeanne from Michigan
Depending on the season or where you live, the weather can impact your desire to go outside. Both extremes, hot or cold, can make going outdoors a challenge. If you plan well, you can enjoy outdoor time no matter the season.
We hear the health benefits are great for both children and adults alike to have time outdoors; yet the motivation doesn't come as easily when the sun is hidden or too hot.
It might be easier to challenge yourself with the simple “Every Day. Outside For Five.”
I did this years ago when my family lived in Alaska. It was dark and cold for much of the winter. Going outside was hard, but if I told myself it’s only for five minutes I could do it. And some days outside in freezing temps for five minutes it was enough. Some days it took us longer to bundle up than the time we took outside.
But most days, as soon as we all got outside we wanted to stay for more than 5 minutes. Our bodies needed it without us knowing until we were outside.
And it usually was not my children who resisted outside time, it was me! You can use the same idea if you live in a sweltering hot place. It might just mean you have to enjoy your time outdoors earlier in the day or in the evenings when the sun is lower and cooler.
These days I have older kids and going outside is not as attractive to them. Here are a few things I do to motivate the older kids, and the little ones usually love to follow.
Give Them a Challenge
Older children like to have an end goal in sight.
“We will walk to the end of the street and back. Then we can go back inside.”
“Find five birds, and track to see which trees they like.”
“Take a picture of a plant that we can draw later inside.”
“Make a maze through the snow with tracks. Play tag within the maze!”
These are simple tasks that make even the older kids feel like they are needed outside.
Even if you are not an artsy person, there is so much to create outdoors. Here are some simple ideas:
Use pine needles and water to paint
Make a tiny snowman family
Find a stick to write names, shapes, or tic tac toe in the snow
On the drizzly days, grab a basket and something to carry items in. Look for stones or sticks to start a “collection.”
Fairy house gets their imagination going! Not into fairies much? Ask them to help you build tiny shelters for tiny people.
Remember, gear is important too! It does not have to be expensive. As long as they are wearing something that fits the temperature, they will be happier and stay longer outside.
Again, this is more of a challenge for the parent/caregiver. Create a habit of going outdoors to enjoy nature for five minutes a day and the benefits will be beyond what your kids will experience. You all deserve this gift.
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Jeanne.
About Jeanne. . . Jeanne Garlets is a mom of four with two kids at home and two in elementary school. She loves the outdoors and includes her kids her hobbies of running, hiking and biking. Those hobbies are always nice to do on her own too.
Check out Jeanne's other post:
Want more inspiration about how to keep your kids active? Check out a few lessons at www.wichealth.org. Our Keeping Your Family Healthy category is a great place to start!
We would love to hear about how you encourage your kids to enjoy the outdoors! Post a comment below or write a post of your own! Check out our needed topics here.