Happy Tracks in the Snow

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playing outside January 21, 2008

Filed under: parenting articles,the kids — paulabrown @ 10:44 pm

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We’ve got a cul-de-sac (isn’t French posh?) opposite us, one where cars don’t reverse in 3rd gear like in our street. The kids can play outside. It got me reminiscing. I used to disappear for hours when I was about 6 or 7 in our cul-de-sac and we even had a street gang where anyone joining had to touch the gang leaders younger brothers ‘willy’ (is there a good word for this appendage?) to join. It seemed quite normal at the time.

I spent some of my childhood in Alberta, Canada and though often minus 40 in the winter we played outside a lot. We lived next to a prairie and hunted rabbit for tea (I was Laura Ingalls Wilder) and ski in the Rocky Mountains and listen to John Denver and make Taj-Mahal shaped ice sculptures and once my parents had the police out trying to find me when I was hidden in the most enormous pile of crispy autumn leaves (I’ve never seen autumns to match those since) for over 4 hrs. What a lark! I’ll be laughing on the other side of my face when my kids vanish like that.

It made me laugh though when we visited a native Athabaskan village in Alaska on a return to that same landscape a few years ago and the kids were all in playing with computer games when there was the most stunning landscape to explore…

Playing outside relatively indendpently (as of old) is really important for independence, getting along with your peers, exposure to sunlight etc. A friend organises Outdoor Fridays for toddlers  – morning rambles / toddles and I’m planning to run outdoor Friday afternoons in our neighbouring cul-de-sac and take it over, we might even take turns to do hot dogs each week. We might pass on the initiations though…

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