When I was in elementary school, the clock would tick the seconds by toward one of my favorite times of the day – recess. I would immediately run outside and scope the scene: four square, tetherball, basketball, jungle gym, field games, swing set, rocking horses and more – so many fun possibilities.
We moved around a lot while I was growing up, so I was fortunate enough to experience different cultures and different playgrounds. Some were massive with tons of activities; others were very simple. One was next to a graveyard.
In seeing these various playgrounds, I sometimes felt badly for the kids who didn’t get to experience the large playgrounds with the oodles of games to play. Now that I’m older, I notice that kids the same age as I was then would prefer to sit on the bench or not even leave the building and play on their phones instead. Where I was learning Cat’s Cradle with string, they’re on social media posting how-to videos about things above their years.
Children will continue to find ways to better themselves through technology, and I admire that. However, they also need to look up and experience real life! Put the phone down, grab a ball and get some Vitamin D!
Though I have no children of my own, my nieces and nephew are extremely important to me. Playtime is essential for them, and there is always an opportunity to learn (yes, even while playing). I love teaching them neat things like how to build a Rube Goldberg machine or give a “Did you know?” like how tortoises can live longer than humans. Children are more alert when they play, so they’re more prone to remember things later on.
Playtime develops things like social skills and hand/eye coordination, and it helps them to stay fit. It promotes confidence, creativity, optimism, stress relief and many other forms of cognitive development needed for a happy and healthy kid. This helps a lot with schoolwork!
Next time you see your child on their phone or in front of the television, give them an activity to do outside. Then, join them! You need this, too!