According to an article I read this morning on ABC News, only 49% of preschool kids play outside with parents at least once each day.
|I'm the homely child on the left.|
No, but for real.
I grew up on the wooded East Coast in a quiet, secluded neighborhood. My Dad really wanted us to grow all of our food and have plenty of land to protect us from the neighbors. You think I'm joking, but he was paranoid.
All year round, Mom would say, "Go outside and play." We'd rake pathways through the dense trees, clearing walkways and large openings. These were our houses with hallways and plenty of room for imagination. It was soooooo fun. Even to this day, I want to go play house in the woods.
We made a "gymnastics center" from a hammock, 2'x4' and some logs in one of those clearings. Our neighbor had a small man-made pond where we'd "fish," trying our luck at catching "Bubba," the giant bass none of us had ever seen but knew was real. I was secretly thankful no one ever caught him because I was terrified of wet, slimy creatures. And all summer long, we'd go shoe-less so we could have tough feet like Pocahontas.
We'd play until dusk when Mom would holler at the top of her lungs for us to come home. What would my neighbors say if I did that today? Haha. They'd probably call the cops. I guess I'd just have to text my kid instead.
All of my best childhood memories are set in the woods. I want that for my kids. But, things are so different now.
I am one of the lucky few with a back yard. But, it's sparse. The kids get bored in about 5 seconds and sunburnt in 4, whining to come back inside. There's nothing to explore except dead grass, weeds, a few rose bushes and one of those metal play-sets with only three legs on the ground at any one given time. First world problems, eh?
But, despite all that, the question still remains: Am I encouraging my kids to be active outdoors?
I'm scared the answer is no. Of course, this could be a new, awesome part of my momming life. Imagine resting outside under an umbrella reading my favorite book while the kids are forced to play together...Mmmmm...
I am setting a goal for my family: at least 30 minutes of outdoor play per day. I'm not big on giving myself additional tasks to complete each day, but this one is so important for the kiddos. Bring on the wolves.
So, what do you think? How often do your kids get outdoors? How do you keep them entertained in the wild?