Ok Ok We cant totally avoid the housework but you can still keep a clean house and live outdoors...Infact if you spend the an hour or two in the morning zipping through the house like a blue arsed fly then you can spend as much time as possible outside.
Here in the UK the winter months are a little too cold to be outside too long with the kids but a little walk or bike ride is great...not only for exercise but to point out to the kids the natural wonders of your environment.
No matter where you live, be it The city or countryside (I've lived in both with my four) there are always things to look at to get the kids interested in nature.
When my eldest two were babies we lived in East London. It is where I grew up so I was used to city life and knew all the best ways to get the kids into nature and avoid the noisy city streets. Our first stop was our local park...Double buggy in hand I'd walk them around the lake everyday, feeding the ducks any left over bread we had in the house. I'd let my eldest out of his buggy straps and let him toddle up to the ducks. I loved to watch their smiling faces and listen to their giggles as the ducks nipped the bread from their little chubby hands. They would squeal with delight if they spotted a Mummy duck with their ducklings and want to make sure the ducklings got the bread first before the bigger, bossier ducks.
Next stop our local city farm. It was free and had all kinds of animals from guinea pigs, to chickens, to goats & pigs. In the warmer months we would visit most days, buying a cup of chicken feed on our way in for 20p a cup. The chickens would freely roam the farm so if you were carrying a chicken feed cup they would cluck at your feet for food. We would sit in the giant rabbit pens and play with the rabbits and guinea pigs, other kids would also be in there at the same time so my boys would often end up making friends too. We'd take some sandwiches and sit and eat them in the picnic area before heading back home. Our daily walks would pass the time, entertaining the boys, tiring them out (which all Mums love), It kept the house clean, avoided any bored cranky and hyper active rugrats jumping around on the sofa, marker penning the walls or practising body slams on each other. We always always always had to take the boys out everyday, even if it was just for a kick around with the football...If we didn't we would know about it at home and I'd end up rocking back & forth in a corner, pulling my hair out!
We have done the same with the girls and we are now lucky enough to live out in the countryside where we are always out & about pointing out birds & bugs, taking walks along the river and through our local farm that has ponies & llama's. Nature play has always been a big part of our kids childhood and its often saved my sanity, although my reason behind our nature walks hasn't solely been for my own benefit, Of Course not...
The Great outdoors for our kids is essential for their health and emotional well being.
Here is a fab hand out from the RSPB - Every Child Outdoors - Children need Nature. Nature needs children.