I recently attended a child’s birthday party at one of our favorite local parks. It’s an awesome park with multiple play areas. It’s an older wooden park but it has everything you can imagine swings, a handful of slides, ramps, shaky bridges, tires to climb, balance beams, poles to slide down, a climbing wall, it even has a small zip-line.
While we were at the party my son hit most of the equipment. He slid down the slides, balanced on the beam, walked on the shaky bridges, I helped him zip on the zip-line. He squealed with laughter and called for his friends to “follow me.” I found myself amazed and somewhat baffled when my son tried to entice not one but three different friends to follow him down the slides and none of the children would partake in the slide play. They all acted slightly terrified of the slides, even the smaller ones. I found myself wondering how often the other children visited parks.
My son and I are frequent visitors, at many parks. I try to make sure we got to the parks at least once a week and if the weather permits more often. (We play in the yard almost every day). I’ve found myself stopping at a park while driving because it was one we had never been to before and I wanted my child to experience the joy of a new park. Or sometimes if I have had a rough day myself we will stop at a park on the way home so I can boost my own spirits watching my child scramble and climb and slide with him enticing me to also scramble and climb and slide. (We even bring the dog on most excursions and she too will climb and slide.)
Am I a rare mother to bring my child to the park? I have so many fond memories myself, of playing at parks as a child, I could never imagine not taking my own child to experience the joy and wonder and magic of park play. What is wrong in our world that our children are not playing at parks? How do mother’s cope without taking their child to a place where they can run wild and expend all the energy that only little children are filled to the brim with?
I’ve read so many articles about how important it is for children to experience unstructured play. How much good it does for them to run and play and learn and what better place than a park?
This week’s challenge for all you parents. . . take your child to a park, (or two) and listen to their laughter. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, join them for a slide or two, or hang upside down with them like a monkey. You will be empowered by the feelings.
A Couple Great Articles about Outside Play:
Today is food revolution day! If you don’t know about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution you can check out all sorts of info on his webpage Here. Food Revolution is about each and every one of us taking a stand when it comes to food by making small changes that push for more positive changes in our current food industry.
Food Revolutionaries encourage people to cook with your kids, buy better products that support a more fair system, and read up on current food issues. I think the most important aspect of the Food Revolution is getting back to cooking with real food and ingredients. Health issues are running rampant in our country and many of the health issues people face can be contributed to food choices. So, I challenge you, even if it’s just for today to only eat real food. Take one small step in changing your habits, your children’s habits, and the direction of the food industry and only eat whole unprocessed food, just for today. I promise it’s not that hard, and if you need a little help Jamie Oliver has some delicious recipes you can check out Here .