Letting Go of Excuses

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

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

photo by: bionicteaching

Tackling the Weight of the Nation Through Outdoor Play


The powerful documentary, The Weight of the Nation, has the country and even the world talking — and rightfully so.

That said, so often people’s response to childhood obesity in particular focus on nutrition and exercise. And not that those things aren’t important, but they are not enough, and they leave out play, which should be the cornerstone of childhood.

Now, you all know how I feel about unstructured play and time outdoors. I’ve been writing about it since day one of this blog, and promoting it for twenty years. Today I want to let you tune in to a powerful, passionate, and respected voice in the play and education movements — Joan Almon.

Click on the link to listen to an interview with Joan Almon about the benefits of outdoor play in the fight against obesity and beyond. Joan is one of the co-founders and the Executive Director for the Alliance for Childhood. She is champion of play, and longtime childhood advocate, and a personal friend and hero of mine.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the interview and how you see the role of outdoor play not only  in the fight against childhood obesity, but in raising happy, healthy children.

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

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