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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Value of Playing Outside - A Forgotten Pleasure?

My children can't get enough time in a day to play outside. They love being part of the landscape. I wonder how many children still enjoy the simple pleasures of having the wind on their faces, sand and dirt running through their fingers, and grass beneath their feet.  Technology can be a wonderful tool that opens up a world of resources to us, yet has it also become one of the things that separates our children from the many sensory experiences that were a part of our own upbringing?  What might our children be missing in their repertoire of daily life?  

Here are some of the things I noticed when my three children, ages 9,6, and 4, are turned loose to run and play outside of the confines of the four walls of our apartment: 
  1. Climbing trees
  2. Running through the grass
  3. Skating up a hill
  4. Friends helping pick you up when you fall
  5. Skipping/Hopping/Jumping
  6. Lots of Motion
  7. Feeling a breeze on your face
  8. Watching the breeze sway the trees; blowing leaves everywhere
  9. Twirling in Circles
  10. Getting dizzy
  11. Shouts and Laughter
  12. Breathless wonder as you play chase and hide-n-seek
  13. Great friendships formed
  14. Creation of Games and Negotiation of Rules
  15. Throwing balls, Frisbees, and airplanes
  16. Riding bikes, skateboards, scooters
  17. Collecting leaves/sticks/rocks/pine cones/acorns
I'm not saying that children shouldn't be allowed to explore technology according to age and developmental level.  I do believe there needs to be a balance.  That balance is the responsibility of parents and those in charge of children's entertainment and after school activities. I hope we still recognize the value of encouraging children to get outside, exercise (also known as active play), and experience the many sensations that occur during those moments of fun. Now that the hot Summer days are turning into a cool,crisp,Autumn,
there will be a whole new array of sensory moments to experience.  Let's not allow our children to miss out on this change of season.  Get out there and have some fun.

Have a wonderful week.  Hope you enjoy some playful outdoor moments with your own family.  I would love to hear from you.  Just drop me a line in the comments section of this blog.