My fondest memories as a child was playing outside with my friends on our dead end street. We had the whole block to ourselves to have races to see who was the fastest, play hide & go seek, and go on discoveries to walk around the surprisingly wooded area on our city street. Our mothers would sit in their chairs in the yard in deep adult conversation that we dare not to interject in. We didn’t live in a quiet suburb. We lived smacked down in the inner city. Life wasn’t easy for any of us, but it was a community of happy kids. Playing outside was our outlet, our escape, and our time to challenge ourselves in friendly competition in play. We learned as children to work through our disagreements without interruption from our parents despite how big the fight was. We learned how to take turns in organizing our own teams for the weekly kickball game. We got inspiration in culinary arts by making mud pies. We shared in compassion for our friends if one got hurt needing support when tears ran from their eyes. It wasn’t “Kumbaya ” every time we played together . We had our arguments, fights, teasing, and other childhood issues in play. However,the good outweighed the bad in building our on tribe as children in playing outside with our friends. We strengthened our bonds in playing as siblings. I will never forget the pride that everyone of us had on Christmas day when we would meet up with our new bikes to show off. Later, we would plan the ultimate street race!
Empty Playgrounds and Silent Streets
I see that times have changed for various reasons of why many of our children choose to stay inside. Many of our children are locked to their computers, swiping on tablets, or playing their video games. I am not against the advancement of technology of the digital age. My children as well play with those activities, and those outlets help out on rainy days. There maybe some children that have special illnesses that may limit them in playing outdoor frequently. It’s all about identifying your family’s needs, concerns, and having balance in incorporating outdoor fun in the mix with other interests . It maybe a drive for some to find a safe, fun, and exciting place for their children to enjoy some outdoor fun, but the benefits of playing outside exceeds in more ways than none.
Here are a few ways to consider in getting in on some outdoor family fun:
- Be creative as a family .
- Join in on the fun as a parent occasionally. The family that plays together stays together!
- Dive into discovery! Try new adventures and activities as a family.
- Go old school. Never underestimate the power of old schools games like Red, Light, Green Light, Hide & Seek, Hopscotch, Freeze Tag, and etc.
- Introduce your children to some of the fun games that you enjoyed as a child, or share with them new games that they can play outdoors. Play one round with them if your physical health permits, and allow them to continue on their own.
- Find a safe & spacious environment for the children to play .
- Be creative and allow your kids to be creative in using their imagination.
- Find affordable toys that are age appropriate that will tap into your children’s interests.
- If under the age of 12 be sure to be of watchful eye in observation for safety .
- Do your research to see what events, local parks, and trails are available in your city for your family to enjoy.
- Network and meet other families to join in participating in play dates, events, and outings.
- Try new things as a family.
- Don’t be afraid to get dirty or to allow the kids to get a little messy! A little dirt won’t hurt anybody.
- Allow your children to have a voice in sharing some the activities that they would like to choose in participation .
- Don’t be afraid of introducing healthy competition.
- Always consider your family’s overall health concerns before participating in any activity or location.