Busy, busy, busy. Aren’t we all? Places to be, things to, 10 million things that just never get done.
I love all the fun we pack in, I hate that I have to work so hard to slow down (is that an oxymoron?!?)
One big benefit of homeschooling is the ability to be able to schedule things how I want to….but sometimes even with all that flexibility I struggle to get outside as much as we really should. Just like everyone else, I’m full of excuses. Because the fact is that sometimes the mere fact of taking things OUT of doors just takes a bit more work. Books flap in the wind, papers blow away, kids are distracted easily, I can’t multitask quite as much, etc., etc.
Anyway, I decided to make a list of ways we ALL can just get outside more. Help me grow list, will you?
- Park further out and walk…to work, to school, to the grocery store. If you can ditch the car all together, even better. I watch people around me literally drive 1/4 mile to work. Blows my mind every time. If you’re one of those people, do something different even one day this week.
- Eat out(side). We love to pack a picnic because it prolongs our play time outside, keeps the kitchen a little cleaner, helps me have one meal done and out of the way before the day has hardly started AND (most importantly), the kids love it. **See below for more about those great lunch sets – our favorite!**
- Start the day outside. Take just 10 minutes and walk around the block, go shovel the snow (yep, it really is coming one of these days!), or take the dog out. Make it a part of your morning routine so you ALL know what to expect. And don’t let weather get in your way. Dress accordingly and get out anyway.
- Bring a friend. Plan on meeting for a hike, a playground morning, a boat ride, a bike ride, etc. Better yet? Make it a weekly plan, rain or shine.
- Go outside as a family after dinner and before bed. Even just 15 minutes. Everyone will settle better AND sleep better.
- Unplug and detach from work on the weekends. Yes, it’s easy to get sucked into Saturday projects (which we ALL have), but set aside Sunday for outdoor time. It seems to set the tone for the rest of the week….
- Let them decide. Have reluctant kids/spouses/dogs/alter ego? Give them the choice of what you will do outside. Climb trees? Fish for frogs? Jump in puddles? Read in hammocks? It really doesn’t matter WHAT it is…just that it’s in the fresh air.
Ok, your turn! How do you squeeze it in? What works for your family?
When we plan to eat outside, sometimes we do it in the backyard, but more often than not, everyone prefers to pack it and go. I used to do one big massive food bag, but the kids really prefer their own packed meals AND for some reason they end to eat more too.
Plus, when they’re hungry 5 seconds after they eat, I can just direct them back to their own packed meal and help them take ownership of their nutrition.
L.L. Bean sent us some sets to try this fall and they are a big favorite here. I love that I can coordinate lunch box patterns with the water bottles and food containers (to help me AND them remember which set belongs to which kid). And L.L. Bean is guaranteed excellent quality – these will last forever.
- Lunch Box ($19.95)- not huge, but big enough for kid meals to be packed in. I love the inside mesh pocket for an ice pack or spoon. There’s also a zippered outside pocket and a mesh pocket outside for extras (money, more snacks, etc.)
- Water Bottle ($14) – These are Avex brand (which we LOVE) and are newly designed. The straw attaches inside to keep it from being lost and works every time. Plus there’s a cover for the spout to keep it clean. And they don’t leak. Love these bottles.
- Stainless Steel Vacuum Food Container 9 oz. ($24.95) This is the kids’ favorite thing. Perfect for yogurt, cottage cheese, soup, spaghetti or even, on a really good day, ice cream. They recommend pre-heating or pre-cooling for best use, and we have found that to be really helpful.
L.L. Bean also has coordinating pencil cases ($9.95) which are SOOOO great for homeschool. They are large enough for markers, pencils, crayons, a small pencil sharpener and eraser too. The zippers work great, the kids know which one is theirs and they bring it everywhere. It also has an outside zippered pocket for a bit of organization. Highly recommend for adults too.
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