Screen-Free Outdoor Activities to Unplug & Reconnect with Nature
Many of us spend the majority of our day in front of a computer or surfing the internet using our smartphones. Have you ever wondered how much time we actually waste, holding our devices or staring at screens?
With the growing popularity of digital devices our lifestyle and the way we interact with each other has changed drastically. We’ve started spending more time indoors and even when we are outdoors we tend to use our mobiles extensively: we check them while walking, navigating through the area, checking public transport routes and taking selfies along the way, which we then instantly post to Instagram, etc. We’re always connected.
Now, imagine yourself in a situation, you’re outside, without an Internet connection. If all of the possible online activities and entertainment have been removed, your smartphone becomes almost useless.
Instead of complaining, look around and use those precious hours of the day. Unplug and reconnect with the natural world around you.
Time spent without the internet can help you to relieve anxiety, raise your enthusiasm, relax your mind, eyes and tech neck, help you to focus on you, not on others and assist with building true relationships with people face to face.
If you have difficulty selecting an outdoor activity (we know you might, but don’t worry), we have prepared an extensive list of hobbies you can do alone, or with friends and family.
Gazing at clouds or stars. Play a cloud shape association game or try to catch a falling star and make a wish. This might seem childish but it’s really quite fun!
Explore where you live. Walk around an area you aren’t familiar with and explore new urban or rural attractions. You may encounter something special and fascinating.
Build something outdoors. Depending on the season you can have fun with your friends and family trying to make a snowman, by building a sand castle, constructing a shed or treehouse or even just organizing a relaxing spot for hanging hammocks.
Try outdoor sports. There are plenty of outdoor sports you can do, badminton, tennis, horse riding, rowing, archery, rollerblading, cycling, jogging, hiking, climbing, outdoor ice-skating, swimming in the local river or lake, etc.
Read a book. Outdoor reading is another exciting experience. Just find a comfortable and quiet space to plunge yourself into the story.
Identify flowers, trees, insects, birds or animals. If it’s the summer or springtime, get a journal and a field guide (you can also simply print one) and go to the local forest, park or wild field. Take on the role of naturalist and check how well you can recognize flowers, trees, other plants, insects, birds or animals.
Go camping. Pick up your tent and sleeping bags and relocate closer to nature for camping (it can even be your backyard). It can be a lot of fun staying outside overnight if you aren’t afraid of being bitten by mosquitoes.
Try volunteering. It’s a wonderful way to do something useful for other people, animals, or the environment; make valuable connections and learn new skills.
Practice yoga in the park. Static exercises such as yoga or stretching will help you to relax your body and mind and regain the energy levels.
Do some gardening. If you are lucky enough to have a backyard, utilize it. Buy some seeds and see if you can grow something or buy tend to any plants you have.
Try Earthing/Grounding. Grounding or earthing is a therapeutic technique which focuses on restoring your electrical energy by reconnecting to the earth. When we make contact with the Earth with our skin (usually bare feet), we discharge our excess energy, producing a healing effect on a cellular level. Why not, kick off your shoes and take a healing walk today.
Man walking barefoot on sand
Look up walking around the city. Instead of staring at your screen or directing your sight to the ground, observe the tops of the buildings and trees. You will find a lot of interesting things you’ve always been passing by.
Start writing. It doesn’t matter if you’re the author of a book or the extent of your writing is updating your Facebook status. Just pick up a pen and paper and start writing down whatever appears in your mind. It’s a great way to relax and discover a hidden talent.
Start drawing. Find a nice place and start expressing yourself by using your imagination or by drawing surrounding objects or landscapes.
Take pictures with a digital camera. Take shots of everything that looks appealing to you, whether it is a local park, forest or urban area nearby your home.
Navigate without online maps. When you go to some unknown place, take a printed map or just try to remember the map before you leave. Let’s see if you reach your destination without Google maps! Think of it as an adventure.
Practice meditation. Meditation is a great way to find inner peace. Practicing it outdoors sitting in a quiet spot surrounded with nature may double the effect.
Try mindfulness training outdoors. Have you ever heard of mindfulness cards? Mindfulness cards, like Mudita Pause, are a creative way to reconnect with nature. They are perfect for those times when we crave a moment of reflection, which comes from exposure to nature. It provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the phenomena of nature and reconnect with the natural world at any time.
Fly a kite or a lantern. This is great to do together with your family or friends. You should however make sure that if your lantern doesn’t interfere with the environment.
Teach your pet tricks. If you have one, spending time together can be a lot of fun. Train your pet to do some unusual commands or make it overcome an obstacle route you can easily make.
Observe people. Go to a busy area and find a comfortable place with a good view of the passing crowd. Try to play Sherlock Holmes and guess what people do in life, what’s on their mind, where they’re from, where they’ve been or why they are happy or sad.
Visit some open area attractions. There might be an open air museum, zoo or botanical garden nearby you haven’t been to for years.
Visit entertainment parks. It’s always good to take a trip down memory lane, think of your childhood and rides on roller coasters, or Ferris wheels, eat cotton candy or popcorn and play arcade or fairground games.
Attend an outdoor cinema. During the summer season almost every city organizes outdoor movie events. Grab some food, find a seating place and enjoy the movie under the open sky.
Visit cultural markets. Stroll around the city and attend Christmas markets, historic craft fairs or other cultural events. Even local markets might surprise you!
Participate in outdoor workshops and group meetings. This can be any sort of Meetup gathering outdoors, survival workshops, dance classes, natural cosmetics, etc.
Attend local festivals. Check out events and festivals that are going on nearby (tree planting campaigns, poetry slams, music concerts, various night time events).
Play with children or younger siblings. If you are out of interesting ideas, consider spending time with your children or your friend’s children outdoors. They always come up with interactive games you haven’t considered and it’s a lot of fun!
Go fishing. Another quiet and relaxing outdoor activity. If you don’t know how to fish, it’s a good idea to take someone experienced with you. Once you’ve caught a fish you need to know how to put it back without harming it, unless you intend to eat it.
Go sunbathing. If it is a sunny day, think of going to a local park or a beach to have a lazy time lolling under the sun. Be sure to wear sun cream though!
Have a picnic. Grab your family and friends, snacks, a few blankets, some outdoor props, games, cards and you are packed! Now find a nice meadow or space in the park to have fun.
Collect things. Collect flowers to dry and make a sertulum illustration with them, or collect some unusual rocks or shells you’ve seen nearby.
This list could go on and on, as there are plenty of things you can do outside.
Don’t underestimate time spent unplugged in the fresh air, without gadgets or an internet connection.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you enjoy your time outdoors, free from the distraction of digital devices.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out some other one on our website about the importance of unplugging & enjoying some screen-free time.
Do you have any offline pastimes? Perhaps some other wonderful ideas worth spreading? Let us know in the comments below!
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