When my son was a newborn, the surefire way to calm his fussiness was taking him outside. Now that he’s older, he still prefers running around in nature over any alternative, and I hope he maintains this love of fresh air the rest of his life. As he grows, I find the need to be more intentional about scheduling and seeking time outside.
Spending time outdoors allows kids to build confidence, encourages creativity, and builds advanced motor skills, such as agility and balance. It’s a great opportunity to meet other kids (and mom friends!) and work on social skills, too.
If spending more time outside is a goal for you and your kids, here are some practical ways to make it happen.
1. Commit to a Goal
This year, I printed off a 1000 Hours Outside Challenge tracker. We color in one box for each hour we spend outside. Try committing to specific dates and times to get outside each week, the same as you would for any other appointment.
>> RELATED READ :: The 1,000 Hours Outside Challenge <<
2. Join a Class
We are excited to start our first season of Tinkergarten, a mixed-age child and caregiver nature play class available in-person or virtually. There are several sessions at a range of times in Dallas and surrounding areas.
Other options with (full-time care and parent-and-me classes) include Kiddie Krafts Preschool and Nature School of Fairview. Homeschooling moms may also benefit from joining their local Wild + Free group (several in Dallas and surrounding areas), which meet weekly outside.
3. Take It Outside
Getting outside with kids doesn’t have to be complicated. Most activities you usually do indoors can easily happen in the fresh air instead. Make mealtime into a picnic (bonus: no messy floors), read, color, or have kids do homework outside. Ask to move playdates to parks or go for a neighborhood walk.
4. Become a Member
Dallas offers a selection of gardens and nature-focused museums with affordable family memberships. Several outdoor activities are usually included with memberships. Check websites and membership mailings for regular programming.
For example, the Dallas Arboretum usually offers regularly scheduled family activities throughout the year. Texas Discovery Gardens just launched monthly homeschool days. While you’re there, check out the surrounding Fair Park area for more to explore, including the dragon-shaped Leonhardt Lagoon sculpture.
5. Create a Bucket List
Having a bucket list of places to explore in Dallas builds excitement about being in nature. Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center is high on our list because of its kids nature center. White Rock Lake and other jogging trails are frequent favorites of mine to explore, but I’m always adding new parks to my bucket list. We love the latest renovations to Klyde Warren Park. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the latest downtown parks under construction.
Did I miss any outdoor opportunities? Share your favorite ways and places to enjoy fresh air with your kids!