Getting Outside Time When You’re an “Indoor Sport”

[This was originally posted over three years ago!  A few things have changed since then: 1) I've become MUCH more "outdoorsy"-- even relishing long, ambling hikes, 2) I've started walking- outdoors- 5 or 6 times a week, and 3) I now have children old enough to play in our backyard without me *insert happy dance*.  Still, these tips still hold true and serve me well!]

I get it from my maternal grandmother.

I prefer the indoors. Really. I adore air conditioning and I’m happy as a lark walking on my treadmill. It’s not that I don’t like the outdoors… well, it kind of is. I don’t really like dirt. And I can’t stand bugs. I turn up my nose at bird droppings and such. I hate having to walk through mud or muck. Don’t even get me started on spiders…

I’m just kind of prissy, it’s true. There are a few lovely Spring and Fall days where I flourish outdoors and truly enjoy every moment. But the rest of the time? I would honestly rather clean my bathrooms than go outside to play in the dead of summer. And it makes me sad to admit that. If I don’t put it on my to-do list, it’s likely not getting done.

And so I DO put it on my list. Because it is crucial that my little ones get that fresh air and time to run around! My desire to be inside where it’s cool and bug-free pales in comparison to their need to play outside. Do I sometimes wish I were one of those mommies who couldn’t wait to get out in the yard? Yep. But I’m not. And that’s just the way it is.

Here are a few things that help me make sure my kids get enough outdoor playtime, even with an “indoor sport” Mommy:

  1. I plan picnics. This gives me a solid plan and makes me feel as though I’m “multi-tasking”. They think it’s super cool and I admit I appreciate the lack of mess being outside means!
  2. I do little chores while outside. Again, this is about multi-tasking. I love to fold my laundry outside, for example. It’s a mindless job that I can easily do while monitoring my preschoolers.
  3. I reward myself. Pathetic, isn’t it? But since I pretty much drink only water all day long, if I tell myself I can have a glass of lemonade or soda after playing outside, it can be a nice little motivator.
  4. I let Daddy do it. What a cop-out! But I readily admit that my husband is better at outside play. I’m creative and crafty and great at keeping little hands busy inside. And so, when he’s around, my husband is usually very willing to spend some quality outdoor time with the kids. He also comes up with cool jobs for them, e.g. being his “mulch assistants”.
  5. I bring “props”. It goes without saying- there are some toys that can only be played with outdoors. Keeping them neat and corralled in a net sack by the door makes it quick and easy to have something fun to do in a flash.

And there you have it.

I’m not proud of it, but I do have to force myself to play outside. At least I’ve found a few things that DO work for me!

How about you? Do you like to play outside? Are there any things you know are good for your kids, but you kind of have to force yourself to do them?

 I’ll have more on ways to get some fresh air and explore the great outdoors in the coming weeks– it’s that time of year!

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1 comment to Getting Outside Time When You’re an “Indoor Sport”

  • I KNOW that my child learns a lot when we take stroller walks and discuss what we see…and I have to force myself to do it…it’s just part of that whole exercize thing. I really wish I could get myself to do it every day-we’d both be happier (and I’d loose that weight)! Maybe I can reward myself w/coffee on the go like you do…. :)

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