Sunday, May 8, 2011

Time to Play Kids

Growing up and loved basketball and found myself playing almost everyday out in the school yard until I realized I was not going to grow up much taller than 5 ft 7 inches I better look elsewhere for a way to make a living. It is much the same today that kids during their school hours of "recess" have the option to go outside and play on the basketball court, volleyball, or an industrial looking slide and swing. This all caught my attention working in the outdoors now for the last 10 years and being surrounded by kids and nature trying to get kids to make humans part of the landscape of the natural world and not just something we are here to exploit.

The idea of playing outside during school hours was made clearer to me in something called the "loose-parts theory". This theory is to say that playing in a more natural setting like a forest or a field with trees, rivers, or ponds has many more loose-parts than just a basketball court. These loose-parts allow the imagination to soar and begin games invented in the childrens mind.

It was while I was reading the book "Last Child in the Woods" that I learned about a Swedish study that found children on asphalt playgrounds had play that was much more interrupted; they played in short segments. But when in a more natural playgrounds, children invented whole sagas that they carried from day to day to day -- making and collecting meaning. (Source: Richard Louv)

Basically to put it short for kids playing outside in natural settings can have endless positive affects on our society that are just beging to be discovered. Unfortunately one of the reasons kids have to be on artificial playgrounds is because of the ear of law-suits and schools afraid of getting sued for having a kid really enjoy and get the benefits of being outside.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

La Sabana

   La Sabana City Park in San Jose will be an experiment in clean air. This month workers will plant 5,000 new indigenous trees in the park. Many of the existing trees are exotic and they will be removed from the park. They are diseased or otherwise damaged. Sabana Park is called the green lung of the capital city. The new growth will help Sabana Park continue to do its job.

Monday, May 2, 2011


   The Pacuare River, or the Rio Pacuare, flows for 180 km before it empties into the Caribbean. National Geographic selected the Pacuare as one of the top five rivers in the world for recreational white water rafting. The rainforests and canyons that border the river make for breathtaking scenery. The land is so pristine that you feel this is the way it must have been when Columbus arrived. Indigenous people live along the river. Jaguars, black panthers, racoons, capuchin monkeys and sloths call the shores of the Pacuare River home.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Morning

   My first Sunday in Costa Rica was quite a surprise. The little village church is on the corner of two narrow streets. People walk to Church from all directions. There are no traffic jams because cars are few. A small parking lot takes care of all the cars. The church is full with young and old, men and women. Neighborhood dogs wander in and lie down in the center aisle. No one gives them a second look. Children walk around greeting members of their extended family. It is a much more casual community affair than in most North American churches.