A-Z Theme Reveal: 26 Reasons to Take Your Family Outside

leaves jumping 26 reasons to take your family outside

Scottish-American Naturalist John Muir once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Not surprisingly, Muir is one of the people most responsible for the National Park System we have in the US today. He gave up a career in industry to wander his way from Indiana to Florida in 1867, sketching the flora and fauna along the way. Eventually, he made his way to California and surrendered himself to the lure of the natural world. PBS writes that Muir “felt a spiritual connection to nature; he believed that mankind is just one part of an interconnected natural world, not its master, and that God is revealed through nature.”

Muir understood the power of nature in a way that many 21st century people do not. Perhaps that was because he didn’t have the distractions of today, the phones, TVs, video games, and a thousand other things. In 2005, Robert Louv published a book called Last Child in the Woods, in which he coined the term “nature deficit disorder” and argued many behavior problems children were experiencing were related to the fact they no longer went outside.

The good news is that things are changing. The Outdoor Foundation released a report in 2013 that said 49.2% of Americans participated in some sort of outdoor recreation, and the National Park System reported record-breaking attendance in 2015.

Why do we need to get outside?

With so many things packed into our daily schedules, it’s not easy to find time to take a walk or play ball in the backyard. I’m guilty of going into hibernation mode as soon as the temperatures fall below 50. Can it really matter that much if we don’t get outside?

The simple answer is YES, it matters a great deal. The benefits for spending time outdoors—even just five minutes—have been well researched. Rather than get into them today, though, I’ve decided to make it my 2016 A-Z Challenge theme to give you 26 Reasons To Take Your Family Outside. Some of the reasons are lighthearted, but many are quite serious. My hope is that at least one of the reasons will you stick in your mind, and when you feel like you just want to relax on the couch and watch a movie, you’ll get up and head outside instead.

To get you started on your own outdoor adventure (and because it fits so well with the A-Z blogging challenge), I encourage you to take up the National Wildlife Federation’s “26 Ideas From A-Z” outdoor activity challenge with your family.

I hope you’ll check back for the 26 Reasons to Take Your Family Outside, beginning April 1, 2016! 

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54 thoughts on “A-Z Theme Reveal: 26 Reasons to Take Your Family Outside

    • I included the NWF list this week to give some ideas for activities, but I’m not following their list precisely myself. So far, I’m heading in more of a “this is *why*” you should be getting outside tactic, with activities sprinkled in throughout. We shall see, though… As April progresses and I start wondering why in the world I started this challenge, I may have to return to that NWF list! 🙂

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  1. Count me in. I love the outdoors and if you can give me a reason or two or 26 to get my family outdoors. preferably without an iPad or iPod stuck in glued to their palm or ear, all the better.
    If you stop by my theme reveal and it is really slow loading please don’t give up on me. I’m on the tail end of a blog make over, but I’m assured it will be working properly in tie for the challenge.

    Melissa Sugar
    sugarlaw13@live.com
    http://melisssugarwrites.com

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    • Thanks for the visit, Melissa! I often find the hardest thing to overcome with my family is just getting outside the door. The “inside inertia” pulls us to the couch instead. Once we’re moving, though, the mood tends to lighten quickly.

      I’ll definitely pay you a visit later today. I entirely understand the makeover challenges, but it will be worth it in the end! Good luck in April!

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    • I’m really hoping spring appears now that the calendar says it’s here. It was below freezing here in Michigan this morning, though! I shouldn’t let the weather keep me inside, but it’s tough to be motivated when it’s freezing! Thanks for the visit!

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  2. I just posted a comment but it disappeared. I hate to write a duplicate comment. I love your theme. Count me in. I’m intrigued. I love the outdoors. I’m always trying to get my kids outside. I will be back. I would love to learn a few ways to get my kids outdoors, especially if you can show me some outdoor activities without iPads and iPhones glued to their palms and ears. If you visit my theme reveal I hope you won’t give up on me. I’m on the tail end of a blog makeover and my blog is loading really slow, but the design company assured me it will be working properly in time for the challenge, and probably by midday today. Thanks. I’m looking forward to reading your posts.

    Melissa Sugar
    sugarlaw13@live.com
    http://melissasugarwrites.com

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    • My husband & I used to be in our tent somewhere every weekend, Keith. Now that we have young kids, we’re out just as much, but the equipment has changed. I’m looking forward to when the boys get older so we can get out backpacking with them–so much to see! Thanks for the visit!

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    • I entirely understand that pull to relax, Rosa. I keep reading all these stats, though, about the benefits of just getting outside even five minutes. They’re hard to argue with–even when my couch is calling! Thanks for the visit!

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    • Thanks for the visit, Amy! We haven’t gotten any snow accumulation lately, but I saw flakes over the weekend and the temps were well below freezing this morning. We’re getting much more sunshine lately, though, which makes all the difference for me. It’s time to get out of that winter hibernation mode!

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  3. I live right across from a fairly large pond, so I really have no excuse for not going outside more often. I love walking around the pond and seeing all the flora and fauna. Last year, I had so much fun watching a family of geese growing up, though the goslings sadly went from six to five to four. The pond also features turtles, ducks, various kinds of fish and smaller birds, some kind of large fishing bird (a heron?), and rabbits.

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    • I’m hoping to get a post in sometime in April that talks about wildlife watching. There’s so much to learn about life (and death) in a space like you describe. I saw all sorts of headlines last week about baby eagles born in front of an eagle cam, but we can see similar sights around home if we get outside. Thanks for the visit!

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  4. I must admit, I do not spend much time outdoors, but I look forward to reading your posts. I hope they inspire me to get out of the four walls of my home and experience the beauty of nature.

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    • I get into those modes, too, Molly. I’ve been sick for the past week or so, and I haven’t wanted to move! I just have to keep reminding myself that just five minutes in the fresh air can make a difference. Thanks for the visit!

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    • I’m glad to hear the sun has made an appearance there, too! It’s still cold here (snow expected), but seeing the sun more often definitely makes me more ambitious! Thanks for stopping by!

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    • Thanks for visiting, Deborah! The more I keep reading about the benefits of being outdoors for even just a short time, the harder it is for me to hibernate inside. Hopefully some of these reasons in April will give others some motivation, too. Have a great day!

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  5. Amazing amazing topic! ! I love nature, yet so often end up spending the day inside. It doesn’t me do me good! Thank you for writing about this, I hope I’ll catch your posts regularly!

    Andrea, volunteer in co-host Damyanti’s fab D Company

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  6. An interesting and educational theme.
    I’ve never heard of the condition “nature deficit disorder” but it does not surprise me. Kids are glued to their screens…as technology advances so does the “couch potatoe syndrome”.
    See you around on the A to Z circuit! 🙂
    Writer In Transit

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    • That idea of a Nature Deficit Disorder has gotten a lot of criticism bc people say he leaves out a lot of other environmental factors, but if something as simple as getting outside provides significant benefits, it can’t be such a bad idea! Thanks for saying hello!

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  7. Great theme! and I believe now a days is something really important to talk about and reflect since we don’t interact with our familes or nature so much as people used to in the past which is wrong… Looking forward to your post.

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    • Thanks for the visit! Yes, I’m all about being practical with this month’s challenge. It’s a topic that seems so common sense to me on one level, but I know how busy life gets and how many excuses we come up with for staying indoors. I need to remind myself as much as anyone else to get outside. Good luck in April!

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    • Thanks for stopping by! I always feel glad to be outside once I’m there, but I sometimes get caught up in a million inside things that have to get done first. This is my reminder to myself that the inside things can wait! Have a good April challenge!

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  8. Love this idea! As a nurse, I know just how important it is to get outside and how beneficial it is for all ages. With video games, we are spending less time outside than ever before. This is my first year participating in the challenge, and I want to try to visit all the blogs on the list and visit the ones I like best, so I will be back at some point during April. I look forward to seeing what you come up with (Q, X, and Z in particular)! Cassie from Mommy, RN

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    • This is my first go ’round for the A-Z challenge, too, Cassie. Good luck to us both! I know I’m going to need all the luck I can get (although I’m writing about something that keeps me motivated). Thanks for stopping by and good luck visiting everyone. That’s a challenge in and of itself!

      Liked by 1 person

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