25th August, 2010 - Posted by - 11 Comments
It is a happy talent to know how to play.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
As the recognition of the need for children to play outside and connect with nature grows, municipalities and organizations around the country are creating Bill of Rights campaigns to help raise awareness and get kids off the couch and outside. (Examples include California and Maryland.)
As a writer and speaker, I often discuss Can’t Miss Childhood Moments, helping adults remember happy memories of their own childhood play, and discussing the fact that many of today’s kids are missing out on simple joys to be found outdoors.
So, my challenge to you is this: Create a Play Bill of Rights for yourself.
No really, I’m serious.
We can’t say, “Go outside and play,” or model healthy, play-filled lifestyles if the only thing we ever do is work or spend time plugged into our electronic devices. Well, we can, but it won’t be nearly as effective, and could lead to resentment and fights.
Besides, more play time for us adults benefits children in so many ways — but that’s another blog post altogether!
To help get your juices flowing, I am sharing a few of my “play rights” below. But please, come-up with whatever feels right for you.
And have FUN with it! Go nuts!
I have the right to:
- Unplug at least an hour a day and do something that makes me happy
- Walk barefoot and not care about how dirty my feet are
- Walk in the woods and forget everything and everyone and just enjoy the sounds of nature
- Giggle and clap my hands at the new crop of baby ducks each year, and generally act like a 5 year-old
- Think that nothing tastes better than an orange popsicle eaten while sitting in the shade of a favorite tree on a hot summer day
What it boils down to is this: I have the right to LIVE. To play, and laugh, and leave the dishes in the sink sometimes — and so do you.
I would love to hear what some of your rights are, so please share a few in the comments section!
Now, if you will excuse me, there is an orange popsicle in the freezer with my name on it. I have a grape one too, if you care to join me. We’ll take a walk and talk about how we really need to do this more often…
Bethe Almeras, MS, is the HSBS Education & Outreach Director. A long time educator and play advocate, she is passionate about outdoor play and connecting children with nature. In her free time Bethe writes a blog, The Grass Stain Guru, and can often be found playing outside. She is particularly fond of squirrels. And turtles. And sand pipers. And…