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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