Ready to Loosen the Apron Strings?


We’ve talked about the Free Range Kids concept (and book!) here at TGSG before.

We’ve talked about helicopter parents, allowing children more freedom and room to roam, real versus perceived danger, and the importance of free play and time in nature.

So, the questions is this: Are you ready to do more than talk?

Saturday, May 22nd is the first, “Take Your Child to the Park…& Leave Them There Day.”

Yup, that’s right.

Now, before you put your head between your knees — we’re talking 7-8 year olds and up.¬† Not toddlers or preschoolers.

But still — it might just give you pause.

But consider this: Parents often lament they don’t send their kids outside to play because there aren’t other children outside playing. And there’s the rub.

No chicken — no egg. Empty yards, parks, and sidewalks.

Check out more info on the day and what others are saying about it on Lenore Skenazy’s blog, Free Range Kids.

Regardless if you are ready to participate this year or not — it’s a great conversation to have with your spouse, significant other — or simply yourself.

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

Creative Commons License photo credit: Robert S. Donovan

Get Your Green Thumb On: Free Webinar

A spring scene

Hi all! I am doing a webinar that I would love to have you participate in. I’ll be chatting about gardening with kids over at KaBOOM!. The information about the session is below. Come get dirty with us!

Growing Great Kids: Gardening in Your Playspace

Date and Time: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 3:00 PM EDT, 2:00 PM CDT,

1:00 PM MDT, 12:00 PM PDT

Description: Kids and dirt are a natural fit! Adding a garden to an existing playspace or creating a garden as a stand alone project is great way to enhance the play options in your community, as well as teach children about gardening, nature, and nutrition. This webinar will highlight the benefits of gardening, tips and ideas for design options, and much more.

The webinar is FREE, so I hope you will join me. You will have the ability chat with me and ask questions. If you cannot make it at that time, the webinar will be available for free on demand, so you can watch it at your convenience.

Click here to register and join us!

If you are already registered for Growing Great Kids, click here a few minutes before the webcast.

Hope “to see” you there!

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

Creative Commons License photo credit: SharkeyinColo

Are You a Helicopter, a Hummingbird or a Jaguar?

Photo by The Squirrel Assistant

When it comes to supervising children, there is a lot of debate over how much is too much. Parents, teachers and school administrators¬†can drive themselves crazy trying to “do the right thing” for the children in their care.

Should one be a helicopter — hovering over then to make sure everything is just right? Or, should you be a humming bird, flitting in and out, checking on things and modeling as needed, and then flitting back out to let them be?. Or even a jaguar — not really seen, but always watching, off at a safe distance?

I suppose the best answer is — it’s situational. It depends on the age of the child and the location of the play. Of course, you can imagine that as The Grass Stain Guru, I am heavily in favor of the jaguar and hummingbird. Helicopters are loud and pesky. Helicopters command attention, instead of the play at hand.

In education, we talk about scaffolding experiences. Using strategies that support play as needed, but knowing when to step back. The key to being good at this is being a keen observer of play and understanding when and how to offer support in a way that does not derail or adulterate the play.

But as with many things in life, I say less is more. Let children play and engage in what comes naturally to them. Try and keep your sense of fear and/or anxiety in check, making sure it is rooted in reality and not media hype or the unnecessary drive to bubblewrap the children in your care.

I promise…it’s all going to be OK.

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

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