Be Out There Challenge

Get Outside. Be Out There.

Seems simple right?  A pledge to spend one hour a day for a week outside with your kids, turn everything off and just go outside; exploring, playing, letting imaginations and feet run wild.

That’s what I pledged to do. (you can follow that link and pledge to do it, too)  I pledged it as a part of my new position as a Founding Mother for the National Wildlife Federation. This is unpaid and strictly voluntary.. for those who care. oops.. Kim reminded me that I did get a cool retro Ranger Rick t-shirt, so there 🙂

So.. Day 1 of our Be Out There Week rolls around and:  Rain, Rain and more RAIN!  Which normally wouldn’t be a big deal, I encourage the kids to romp and splash in the rain, to play in the puddles because that’s what childhood is for and seriously those are  full on some of my best memories from childhood; however, with the Princess recovering from bouts with strep and bronchitis and random fevers… not so much.

So much for Be Out There Day One, right?  Nope.. it may not be outside.. but it was active and it was FUN!  We took the kids for their first trip to the bowling alley.

I think they liked it 🙂

little miss attitude

Monkey Bowling

The entire week’s forecast is rain and thunderstorms… You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men moms, right?  Well.. I have our sidewalk chalk primed and ready chalk

Because once the rain dries up and the sun peeks out from behind the clouds.. there’s going to be a lot of this:

flying 2

and this

Leading The Way

and this

spinning princess (Day 16)

Because some of my favorite memories from childhood are running with my brothers, playing tag, imaging worlds of hidden wonder and bringing them to life with our words and actions, the place where the branches of the shrubs part is the entrance to the secret garden, the branch that fell from the tree is the sword we used to guard the castle…  I vaguely remember TV as a child, I vividly remember the smell of fresh mown grass, the feel of warm concrete beneath my feet and the taste of spring rain on my tongue.

These are the memories I want for my children, the freedom, the sights, sounds and smells of childhood are meant to be of nature and sunshine, not cartoons and video games.    The benefits they’ll receive are numerous and immeasurable.

We’ll wait out the rain and even when my pledged week is over.. I pledge to still try to get my kids outside and be out there with them for an hour a day, as often as possible.

I’m really proud and excited that I’ve been asked to be a part of the National Wildlife Federations Founding Mothers.

Here are just 2 of the reasons why I’m excited to be on board with this:

  • National Association for the
    Education of Young Children cites
    that play is an active form of
    learning that unites the mind,
    body, and spirit.
  • Children who play outside are more
    physically active, more creative, less
  • aggressive and show better concentration.

Here are the other moms on board with me, I’d love you to say Hi to them, too. Some you know, some you may not, all are wonderful ladies.

Jennifer James

Liz Thompson

Tracey Henry

Kim Moldofsky

Amie Hurst Adams

Asha Dornfest

Kristin Sundin Brandt

Anna Fader

Veronique Christensen

Holly Ambrose

Debi Pfitzenmaier

Christine Koh

Cooper Munroe

Emily McKhann
Ashley Waldvogel Gaddy

Leighann Calentine

What are your biggest challenges to getting outside?  I’d love to know what they are and how you overcome them.

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  1. I have very similar childhood memories of me and my twin brother, climbing trees, digging holes behind my grandmother’s shed (I swear, she had a hidden tunnel that ran straight to China) and, hopefully, my kids will look back at their childhoods and smile, knowing that they tried to dig their way to China, too!

    Great pics, my friend!

    1. Isn’t it kinda brilliant!?!
      I know *sigh* They’re SO big and oh yes.. she put her foot down and said; “Mom, no more bangs.. nuh uh.. never.. I’m done with bangs”

      *double sigh*

  2. This gaves me chills.. and made me cry.

    The pictures of your kids are.. inspiring.

    i Just pledged too
    .-= pamela´s most recent blog ..I’m Alive… =-.

  3. Awesome Rachel, just awesome.

    I’ll be posting next week with a little bit different spin and most definitely (unfortunately) lacking photography as awesome as yours. 🙂
    .-= Boston Mamas´s most recent blog ..Dear Boston Mamas: Boston Area Family Photographers =-.

    1. I can’t wait to see yours, Christine! I love your perspective and your writing!
      and awe, thank you 🙂

      You are an awesome photographer, though.. so hush.

      PS.. Sign up for a gravatar so I can see your gorgeous face with your comments! xoxo

  4. Okay – I *love* that picture of your son. It’s so … so… boy! Good luck with the challenge. It’s harder than it looks. 🙂

    1. LOL 🙂 Thank you! He is ALL boy and he was SO proud of CHUNKING that ball down the lane and knocking down pins!

      It is harder than it seems! We’re trying, though 😉

  5. I too have childhood memories of total freedom. We roamed the neighborhood and had to come home at sundown. We had a big climbing tree in our yard and there were always several kids perched high above like birds. It’s a little sad that kids these days don’t have the same freedom and innocence. We have a fenced backyard and so they have the freedom of going in and out, but yet are contained. I wonder how much freedom I will give them as they get older.

    Great post and wonderful photos!
    .-= Leighann of D-Mom Blog´s most recent blog ..From the Archives: Lancets, Test Strips, and Syringes, Oh My! =-.

    1. Thank you, Leighann! We had a huge yard growing up, too and we were all over the yard and the neighborhood with nary a worry and just had to be home by dusk too.
      It’s definitely sad that it doesn’t work that way now 🙁

  6. Love this! We send our kids out for at least an hour a day to play, run amuck, feed chickens, chase goats and all that fun country-kid kind of thing. The day before Adam was born I grabbed my laptop, a good book, a pitcher of water and spent about four hours outside with them. We had SO much fun. It was the just the rest and renewing I needed before the new baby arrived.

    Angela <
    .-= Angela England´s most recent blog ..How to Control Spending and be a Better Consumer with Less Debt =-.

    1. I hear ya girlie! I try to keep my Dad’s words in mind: “You have the rest of your life to have a clean house, you only have a few short years to play with your kids. Which memory do you want them to have?”


  7. Our kids love playing outside. I have to seriously drag them back in each day. I think it’s easier to get little kids outdoors. Mine would live out there if I let them!

    I think this is a great effort to remind parents to get kids outside. Great exercise, and great for the imagination and quality family time. We love the outdoors!
    .-= Colleen Pence´s most recent blog ..A huge thank you to YOU for supporting us on! =-.

  8. Oh, I love this!!!!!! And your photos – seriously so gorgeous!!!!!!!! The top two of your kids are so full of personality, you must just feel like bursting every time you look at them!!!

    Thanks for the inspiration! We’re starting our Be Out There Challenge on Saturday and everyone is getting revved up!!!!

  9. What a fun idea…and Monkey looks overjoyed with himself bowling.

    The biggest thing for me getting out for an hour is work. I work, come home and cook dinner, we eat, we bathe and we go to bed. We try to squeeze some time in when we can.
    .-= Krystyn´s most recent blog ..She got in a fight. And lost. =-.

    1. He LOVED bowling, Krystyn. He was SOOO proud of himself and I couldn’t get over how easily he CHUNKED that ball down the lane. HE’s one strong little kid.
      He did have a meltdown at the end because he was so so so upset that he didn’t get to keep the shoes!!!! 🙁

      I can imagine that it’s hard. I have a hard time finding time and I don’t work outside the home like you!! xoxo I think as long as we make an effort and are trying our best, then we’re succeeding for our kids.

  10. I *SO* believe in the power of outdoor play! Makes ’em tired but not in a cranky way, makes ’em ready for quiet play indoors when they’re done, and uses their bodies in healthy, natural ways so that a lifetime of good habits are formed.

    Having said that, I really struggle with school hours vs. outdoor play hours vs. indoor tasks that I NEED to get done. Now that the days are longer, it is so hard for me to drag everyone in so that I can get dinner started.

    But I just keep reminding myself that I will never look back with fond memories on the years of laundry/dishes/dinners – I will look back on the years where I had the gift of time to play with little people. So I ignore my mom’s pointed glances at my overflowing laundry baskets & steps full of dust bunnies.
    .-= Kirsten´s most recent blog ..A Happy Place =-.

  11. What a great way to motivate other parents to get outdoors with their kids…actually for moms too right? I know that I need an extra nudge sometimes myself. Your photos are wonderful.
    .-= Tori {Daily Grommet}´s most recent blog ..Meet the very talented Koku Gonza =-.

  12. I laughed out loud at the fact that Monkey had a meltdown at having to leave the shoes. That is SO like him. I’m sure you handled it well.
    .-= Bebe´s most recent blog ..Be Out There Challenge =-.

    1. It was insane Mom. He CRAWLED under the chairs and tried to hide.
      I don’t know how well I handled it but, we left without the shoes 😉

      Love you.

  13. It’s funny… Janice and I were never outdoor kids, but we didn’t watch much TV either. We played inside with our toys and that’s what I remember most.

    Now as an adult, I do find it a bit hard to make myself “get outside”. LOL

    But my girls are complete outdoors girls… they always want to be outside. Luckily their sitter who looks after them during the day while I work has them outside constantly.

    On the weekends, I do need to constantly push myself to make sure they are outside more. They’d be outside all day long if they could.
    .-= Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)´s most recent blog ..Coming Together for the Cure =-.

    1. You know what I love? I love that I hear your voice in your comments and I see your face and your gestures.

      I love that. 🙂

      I’m glad your girls get out! Make sure that you do, too! It’s good for us 😉 xoxoxo

  14. Congrats girl! What an awesome group (and cause.)

    I grew up in the boonies so I remember playing until it was dark out!

    Right now our biggest challenge is TV (hello Disney Channel addicts). I let Miss C watch 30 min. when she gets home from school and has her snack and then after that homework and then playing outside. Luckily the weather has been absolutely perfecto here and the girls have NOT wanted to come INSIDE! 😉

    Miss C will also help me walk our big ole dog so that’s a great way to encourage your kids to get out and get active…tell them pets need exercise, too!

    p.s. your photography is getting awesomer and awesomer

    1. If my kids tried to walk our dog.. they’d be flying 😉
      But YES! That is an AWESOME way to get family outside!!!

      p.s. 🙂 (blush) Thank you
      .-= Rachel ~ Southern Fairytale´s most recent blog ..Blackberry Lemon Coffee Cake =-.

  15. Amazingly enough, I made this pledge to myself a few weeks ago!

    Love it.
    .-= Mishi´s most recent blog ..Homer Simpson said it best, ” Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.” =-.

  16. Our daughters have that same shirt with sparkles!

    Our biggest “getting outside” challenge is… we live in the Pacific Northwest. The rain isn’t as bad as people say, BUT… we do have soppy ground and… rain. We do play in it, but when it’s cold – that’s one thing, but WET and cold is another. We have some indoor play/gym places… but in the last month my 5 year old has been crazy with wanting to be at the park. Wet slides are just not that fun… That’s our challenge during the colder months…
    .-= jennyonthespot´s most recent blog ..Goodtimes… Are You Creating Any? =-.

  17. I remember riding my bike to elementary school with my friends on my street-Liz, Lesley and Nicole if you’re out there, hello:) A favorite memory is of the backyard projects I used to do with my dad. Just the two of us. Whether taking a stump out of the ground, planting our annual garden or just raking, it was our special time. I took to the weeds in backyard this weekend…with a power saw, and all I thought of was my special outdoor time with my dad.

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