Homeschooling · nature

More Than 7 Minutes!

Hi, Happy Readers!

I came across several articles recently that pointed out a clear lack of outside playtime for American children as compared to other countries. These differences showed up as a lack of recess time in schools and as a lack of time outside in general. While other countries average anywhere from 1 hour – 3 hours or more, our American kids are getting just 27 minutes or less. One article said our kids average only 7 minutes per day outside in total!  

7 minutes per day?! I was shocked when I read that. I just couldn’t believe that. In fact, I still don’t. The only way I can wrap my head around that statistic is to assume that the survey was flawed so the results must be wrong.


We all know that being outside is important to our health and well-being right? Science has shown that being outside helps build your immune system. It makes you stronger. It even helps you create serotonin – a.k.a. happiness. Why are our kids not getting enough time outside to enjoy all those wonderful benefits?

Sunshine, fresh air, dirt, trees -they are all good things for us. Not to mention that getting outside gives kids great opportunities for exercise, creative play, and natural education. Some countries even have entire kindergartens outside all day, every day. How is that our kids are only getting an average of 7 minutes of playtime outside per day while other countries are giving their kids more time?

I’ve heard good arguments that some families have limited access to (or lack), safe places outside to send their kids to play. This is absolutely a valid reason for some families, but what about everyone else? Certainly the number of families with restricted access is small in comparison with the ENTIRE United States. So, why are our numbers so low in comparison to other countries? Who’s bringing our average down? What’s going on people?

This article points to electronic devices as being the main reason kids are not going outside to play – and I agree that they are a major factor, but are they the real culprit? Another article suggests that a reduced time for School Recess is another contributing factor – but is school the only time that kids are being given access to outdoors? What about evenings and weekends?

I’ve also heard that kids and families are, “Too Busy” with tightly packed schedules to find time to get outside and play.  But to me, that is just a poor excuse. In fact, I find all those reasons as just poor excuses for not making outside time a priority. They might as well list, “too cold”, “too hot”, and “nothing to do”, as reasons too because they are all just as pitiful.

If you, as a parent, are giving those terrible excuses as reasons that your child is not going outside enough to play, then YOU are the problem, not them!

As parents, isn’t it OUR JOB to do everything we can to ensure a happy, healthy, safe environment for our children to grow up in?  If so, {which it is}, isn’t it also our job to make sure that they are getting enough time outside to play because of all the health benefits it offers? To me, and to many other parents, psychologists, and scientists alike, getting outside to play is an essential component for healthy child development. Heck, we all believe it’s essential for childhood -period.


What about you? Do you believe that outside play is essential for childhood development? Do you insist on getting your kids outside every day (weather permitting)? Do you play with them in the yard or local playground? Do you have them help with gardening or other outside chores?

Do you take them hiking and show them the beauty of this wonderful world? Do you teach them how to take care of it and themselves, so they can it enjoy it all longer? I’m gonna bet that you do. In fact, I bet most of you do. So let’s prove these articles wrong together. Let’s show the world that our kids spend more than 7 minutes a day outside!

Take the, “More Than 7 Minutes” Challenge!

Every child should play outside more than 7 minutes per dayI challenge you  to help me prove these scientific surveys wrong. Get your kids outside every day, for more than 7 minutes this week, and post the results to results on my Facebook Page or on your Instagram account with the tag: #More Than 7 Minutes.

Have fun with it! Be silly on the playground. Read a book outside. Paint a picture. Hike a mountain. Plant flowers. Whatever inspires you to be with your kids outside – go do it!

I’ll bet that after 7 minutes outside, you’re all gonna feel so good that you will want to stay out there longer. And, I’m gonna bet that together, we can prove that our American kids spend more than 7 minutes outside, every day!

Go Live Life unScripted!



One thought on “More Than 7 Minutes!

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