May292013

Letting Go of Excuses

flip-flops
I spend a lot of time talking to parents and educators about unplugged play, unstructured time, and slowing down today’s childhood. And I’m not gonna lie, sometimes it can be frustrating to hear the explanations and excuses about why it’s not possible and how children won’t settle for it.

Children, not settling for play time? Children, not wanting to run and jump and yell and laugh with their friends? Not wanting to make a mess or have a bit of freedom?

Sorry folks, I’m not buying it. Children are born to play. BORN. Adults’ attitudes, choices, and rules often quell it, but it doesn’t make the inherent drive to play any less. Play doesn’t have to be as structured, plugged-in, or sedentary as it has become. But for this sad and ugly reality to change, so must the attitudes and behavior of parents, caregivers, educators, etc.

A restoration of the natural balance and joy of childhood will return when the adults let it happen. When we choose to limit screen time and encourage children to explore their yards, neighborhoods, parks, and schoolyards. When we re-adopt the phrase, Go outside and PLAY!” 

If you haven’t read my recent post, Resisting the Urge, I encourage you to do so. It discusses some the things we can do (or not do) to help this process unfold. And for a little inspiration and encouragement, please watch this beautiful video below. Don’t focus on the fact that it takes places in a remote area, but rather focus on the movement, laughter, creativity and sheer joy expressed by the children at play. Who wouldn’t want their children to have similar experiences?

Come on, you can do it. Let go of excuses and resist the urge… and let more of childhood unfold — naturally.

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

photo by: theogeo
May132013

Resisting the Urge…

Pink Water Crocs

It’s almost here — the end of the school year. Can you believe it?!

As summer approaches, so do longer hours of unscheduled time for many children. And while the temptation of structuring every moment is ever-present in today’s society, I would like to encourage you (well me, and pediatricians, child psychologists, and many other experts) to provide plenty of time for good old-fashioned, unstructured outdoor play. Allow for plenty of daily chances for children to be in the driver’s seat, making their own rules, and creating their own stories.

Resist the urge to over-schedule. Resist the urge to hover. Embrace mess and down-time. Let children explore and find their own way out of self-proclaimed boredom.

“Play not only affords children an early source of identity, but is full of useful information about yourself and the world around you,

for once not filtered through adult minds and eyes.”  — Libby Brooks (Author)

Here’s the thing: Children have spent the last nine months very scheduled, buttoned-down, and zipped-up. They’ve been tested. They’ve sat. A LOT. And they have listened — to instructions  directions, reprimands, and the word “NO”. So this summer, practice saying “Yes”.

As in, Yes you may:

  • go outside and play
  • read comic books out in the hammock
  • walk/ride your bike to a friend’s house
  • camp out in the backyard
  • play flashlight tag after dark
  • build a fort
  • plant a garden or even just dig a hole
  • go barefoot
  • get really, really dirty
  • be a kid

Your mantra: Resist the urge.

You can do it. I know you can!

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

 

Dec052012

12 Days of Christmas: Kicking it Grass Stain Guru Style!

It's a marshmallow world ...

Dear beloved readers and friends:

I think this bit of fun deserves a re-posting. After all, what are the holidays with out traditions? I hereby dub this one of TGSGS’s annual holiday posts; so it is written, so it shall be done. ;-)

Thanks for spending this play-filled year with me. For every tree you climbed, fort you built, trail you hiked. For everything that required crayons, glue and glitter. For every Mystery Critter case you cracked. For every belly laugh and gasp of awe-struck wonder you uttered. For every minute of playful spirit you modeled for those around you, I thank you. Gold stars and grass stains to you all! 

Here’s a little fun I’ve cooked up for you this holiday season. xoxo Bethe

On the 12th day of Christmas TGSG gave to me:

12 perfect snowflakes

11 stones a skipping 

10 stars a twinkling

9 children giggling

8 frogs a croaking

7 kites a flying

6 rainbows gleaming

5 forts to build

4 scampering squirrels

3 trees to climb

2 box turtles

And a grass stain on each knee!

No matter what you believe, or don’t, the holiday season is truly special. May yours be filled with much love and laughter, and warmest wishes for a happy, healthy 2013!

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

 

 

<— Little GSG with her trusty stick. (Um, and in case you are wondering, I finally grew into that chin.)

 

 

 

Creative Commons License photo credit: seelensturm

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