Lets get the kids outside to play!

outdoors

A few weeks ago I posted “Educating our children…don’t take away their creativity” 

The weather got a bit nicer this week and my daughter was outside playing with her friends. It was nice to see them outside and it reminded me of the post I had about creativity and the role outdoor plays in providing it. So it inspired me to write this post today.

One of the things that I believe keeps kids creative is outdoor play. Today Kids don’t play outside much anymore. They are watching TV or playing video games. I think they are losing some great creativity. When I was a kid, I would come home from school, do my homework and go outside to play.

I guess there are many factors that have contributed to the demise of outdoor play over the years. Both parents working, more TV channels, video games, the internet, and safety for your children. Years ago, there were more stay at home Moms but we didn’t use that term back then, they were simply Moms that didn’t work. Kids could come home after school. They weren’t taken to childcare or after school care. Today more kids end up in after school childcare and don’t get home until after 6pm or later.

Regular TV consisted of a just a few channels like, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX AND PBS. Kids could find TV shows to watch only during certain times of the day. No one offered children’s programming 24 hours a day. Now we have dozens of channels for kids to watch everyday, all day.

Kids are spending hours everyday, playing video games. They are glued to a screen. Thank goodness that some of the video games today require you to actually get up and move around. Before these existed they would just sit and play. This time spent indoors used to be outdoor time before.

The internet is the key to email, texting and Facebook. These things have sucked the life out of outside play, not to mention other social behaviors. There are 1st graders with iPhones these days. Kids under 14 years old should not be allowed to even have a Facebook account in my opinion.

This is a very sad factor today. Some kids live in neighborhoods that are not safe, so they can’t go outside to play. Back in the day, kids were able to play safely even in the worst neighborhoods.

Parents today tend to over schedule their kids as well. I’m not against the Karate, Dance and Instrument lessons, etc. But there needs to be a balance. Parents should reflect more on their own childhood and not deny their children the opportunity to have simple fun like they did. Take your kid outside to play dammit!

Kids need outside play time. It fosters creativity. Sometimes kids just want to play and not think. Maybe they just want to run around. Every kid should have some unstructured outside play time every week if the weather permits. And we as Parents need to make this happen!

What ever happened to hide and seek, freeze tag, catching fire flies, red light green light, jump rope, hope scotch, duck duck goose, tag, kick ball and the other games we used to play or just make up on the fly?

What games did you and your friends play?

The “Sleepover” Story

sleepover

Ok, so my daughter had a sleepover last night at our neighbors house. It wasn’t her first sleepover, it was technically her third. The first time counts but not as much because it was at her Aunt Karen’s house. You know, familiar person and surroundings, etc. Although it was a very big step for both Abby and her crazy parents that can’t breathe without her.

The first “Real” sleepover was a few months ago at a neighbor’s house that literally lives 4 houses away. Ilyssa and I were waiting for that phone call at 9-10pm of a desperate little girl asking us to come get her so she can come home. But that phone call never came. My wife texting our neighbor periodically until bedtime to make sure she was safe and sound asleep. And even after that we still thought we would get a phone call at 1-2am….but we didn’t. We woke up the next morning to find out that she didn’t want to come home and she still wanted to stay and play a while. So the ice had been broken….she can handle staying over without Mom and Dad.

Is this the beginning of losing her? I can’t take it…..

The sleepover last night was at our neighbors house that is 2 houses away in our Cul-de-sac. The event was planned days in advance and leading up to it Abby was very excited. She was packed early that morning. While packing (5 bags mind you) her mom told her that she needed to downsize a bit. The biggest items are usually the stuffed animals that she “Needs” in order to sleep. Well, mom went shopping and gave daddy the instructions to help her pack 1 bag and get ready. So, we proceeded to do so. The dilemma came when we got to the stuffed animals. So we compromised with a lot of pain in between, but she was allowed to bring her unicorn, her panda and her puppy but needed to leave the rest home. She cried a bit and stormed out of her room with one of her favorite bears. She came back moments later (without the bear) and just a bit teary eyed. I asked what she was doing and she said “nothing, I’m ok now”. I left it alone and we finished packing.

Moments later, the neighbors were knocking on the door and was one her way.

Most parents would be excited about this and begin to rejoice the freedom and some peace and quite. But I usually get a little sad because I won’t have my little buddy around and of course I need to always be entertained like a 5-year-old. My wife was still out, but we decided that we would go out to dinner as we had this bit of freedom. So I proceeded to our bedroom to get dressed for our date when I stumbled across this on our bed.

In case you can’t read the purple writing on the tablet, it says “Mommy can you take care ove my teddy bear, Love Abby”

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I literally got teary eyed when I saw it. I think it may have been the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen Abby do on her own like that. When my wife saw it she felt the same way. Needless to say, Ilyssa slept with the bear that night. I was luckily not on the couch….

As for Abby, well while I sit here writing this post she is still at our neighbors house. It’s now after 11am and she just called us to ask if she can go to the mall with them this afternoon. I know it’s inevitable that your kids eventually begin to separate from you a bit and become independent, but no one ever said you have to like it. Although I am extremely proud of her and happy that she is having a good time, I still miss her dearly and can’t wait for her to come home later.