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1000 Hours Outside

Balance screen time with hours outside! 1000 Hours Outside for students with visual impairments.

As the new year begins, many of us take time to think about what is important in life and what we want to do to be happier and healthier. My family recently heard about 1000 Hours Outside and as an extended family, have made this our family New Year’s Resolution. We are a household that is all about technology; my husband works for one of the leading computer companies and I manage the Perkins’ Paths to Technology website and collaborate on various assistive technology projects. How do we balance tech time with time in nature?

Did you know that the average American child spends 1,200 hours a year in front of a screen? Outdoor play activities can boost every area of development. Join the global movement and challenge yourself, your family, your students (and their families) to match screen time with outdoor time!

1000 Hours Outside is simply engaged time outside; it works for any age and any stage, in any outdoor environment. The only rule is to be outside and having fun!

Keep track of your outside hours with fun colorings sheets. Choose your favorite design, download and color one tiny section for each hour spent engaged outside. The 1000 Hours Outside tracking sheets encourage using a different color for each month. Each design comes with a separate page to track the your first 100 hours – this page is a great motivator!


1,000 hours outside tracking sheet; design is in the shape of a flower with circles for each month color keys.
1,000 Hours Outside tracking sheet for first 100 hours, design is a flower.

1,000 hours outside breaks down to just under three hours a day for the entire year!

Accessible tracking sheets

Students with low vision may enjoy using the “first 100” tracking sheets, with the larger areas to color. Choose 10 different “first 100” tracking sheets to equal 1000 hours. Large, life-sized tracking sheets are available (see 1000 Hours Outside website).

Tactile students can use graphing paper or a tactile 100 grid page printed on a tactile graphics machine, such as a PIAF or Swell machine. Instead of coloring the squares, add a small tactile sticker. Each month can be a different sticker shape: Example: Use circles for January, hearts for February, stars for March, etc. Purchase a package of sticky-backed foam shapes.

Additional modifications

Outdoor Activities

Involve families of students in the 1000 Hours Outside. Extended outdoor experiences are often overlooked with students who are blind or low vision. Running, climbing, being in nature are a natural part of childhood! These recreation and leisure are part of the Expanded Core Curriculum and support physical, mental and social skills. Spending time in nature also provides hands-on experiences for students – these experiences grow concepts, improve understanding of the world around them, provide fodder for imagination and writing stories and so much more!

Ideas to get you started!


By Diane Brauner

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Texting and low vision

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