Thursday, March 25, 2010

Man-made fun vs. Natural fun

Brayden playing in the creek next to the playground late last spring.

I'll take natural fun please! And more importantly I think most of the kids agree. One of our favorite playgrounds to visit has a small intermittent stream that runs next to it. This time of year the stream has good flow. Come July-September or longer it will have gone subsurface, still conveying water but under cover of rocks. But for now it is full of water that giggles and gurgles as the rocks tickle it's underbelly. The kids are drawn to it's music. Heck, I'm drawn to it, but I am an aquatic science person, so maybe that doesn't count! It was great to see that the children had come for the playground but were actually more interested in the creek. Well, the ones who's parents would let them explore the creek anyway. The water is still way to cold to wade in, although the kids were itching to do so. I told Brenna to stick her hand in and she would see why she couldn't wade yet. She understood quickly. I loved seeing them all turning over rocks and looking for benthic macroinvertebrates, I mean bugs. One girl also got a glimpse of a salamander. This shows me that if parents will take the time to take children to wild places that they are drawn to them like a chocoholic to a snickers bar. A great read on this very subject is Richard Louv's "Last Child in the Woods". I recommend this read to all parents.

Hope you all are enjoying spring, and hey, get those kids outside for some unstructured playtime, even if it's just in your yard! No child left inside!

By the way, as it is the outdoor season my posting will be sparse compared to winter time. Too much living to do to have much time to write about it! I'll try to hit the highlights though.

1 comment:

chisato said...

Hey, Jennifer, just discovered your blog, and have enjoyed it. I like your philosophy of limiting the amount of plastic junk your kids get, and the concept of natural fun...I am trying to get my 7 year old to spend more time outside, but it is hard to fight the pull of Sponge Bob. She has a sudden interest in tree climbing and hole digging, though, so I can hope.