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

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

 

Cheers to the Playmakers!

 

“Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” – Stuart Brown, MD

The lovely Stacy Teet of Kids Stuff World sent me this video awhile ago and I have been meaning to share. Playmakers is a knockout — take a few minutes to watch this engaging video and rededicate yourself to helping save play in schools, backyards, parks, and homes across the country.

Want to learn more about the play? Read The Playwork Primer by my dear friend, the fabulous Penny Wilson. Penny is a playmaker to the Nth degree.

 

 

Get involved in the worldwide movement to save play. On Twitter? Look for the #playoutdoors, #play, #SavePlay, and #GoPlay hashtags to keep up with the conversation.

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

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