How to play outside

A few weeks ago at preschool, during recess, a boy walked over to us and said "I'm done playing outside, I want to go in." My mom and I were surprised since we had only been out maybe five minutes. After distracting him with a different activity, my mom remarked how kids today don't know how to play outside. But how would they with everything to entertain them inside?

Growing up in North Carolina, my sisters and I were outside everyday. At least, that is how I remember it. Riding bikes in our cul-de-sac, examining the bugs around the yard, climbing trees, living our world of make-believe in the woods behind our house, catching fireflies at night, and every other activity we could find around our neighborhood. That was my life, and I feel happy every time I think of my childhood. I hate knowing that Hadley and Carsen won't have the same opportunities because I can't just let them explore on their own without worrying for their safety. But so help me, I will teach them how to play outside if it is the last thing I do.

This year, that is my focus (among everything else going on in my life). Throughout this year I want to move away from the toys we have inside, and expand their imaginations for what they can find outside. My fondest memories are of playing with what we found rather than what we brought outside with us. I hope when my children are grown they are able to say the same thing.


Mariah Magagnotti said...

I want that so bad! I want to raise little adventurers, you know? Let me know if you come up with any good tips, other than just making them stay outside despite boredom ;)

Brissa Christensen said...

This is so good.

Jessie said...

Amen, sista! It is especially hard to cultivate that love for the outdoors when it's cold, so I'm looking forward to spring! (Or even next week when the temps reach 50! Woohoo!) Bron and I were discussing how to help our boys love the outdoors as much as we do the other night. We're thinking of getting Jed his own mini camel back for water and letting the kids take the lead on family "hikes" on the weekends. And we read a lot of other great suggestions on a website called I also read an article about how in the UK they have some junkyard playgrounds that parents are not allowed to linger at. The theory is that children need to experiment and experience on their own, feel like they're doing something daring or dangerous. It's developmentally healthy! So anyway, I completely agree and couldn't be more grateful for this relativity safe and rural area we live in. I try to make it a point to shove my boys out the door daily and bit by bit I'm giving my boys more freedom to play on their own without me. :)