I'm not sure about you, but I certainly remember a time when electronic toys were a novelty and the idea of a "play date" meant you rang the doorbell down the street to see if "Mike" could come out to play But certainly all of that has changed in large degree since the early to mid eighties when I was pedaling around town on a bike and playing manhunt in "the woods" with friends.
I call it "the woods" because that was the name we gave it, though in reality the place we used to play was more of a vacant lot with loads of trees on it, a few old tires, and empty beer cans from older kids the night before. But we certainly weren't aware of the fact that it wasn't Yellowstone, and it never dawned on us to care either... To us it was simply our place to hang out and create whatever new creation was possible out of the materials available, before running around like a bunch of lunatics while chasing each other and having a blast.
Intriguingly, studies now show that free time to play outdoors is critical to developing creativity in kids that can blossom in later life. Seemingly, it's one of their first opportunities to create on their own, outside the realm of adults, and often through collaboration with peers of all kinds, shapes and sizes.
Intriguingly, studies now show that free time to play outdoors is critical to developing creativity in kids that can blossom in later life. Essentially, it's one of their first opportunities to create on their own, outside the realm of adults, and often through collaboration with peers of all kinds, shapes and sizes.
And I think that revitalizing the idea of allowing kids to play on their own outdoors may be a key to encouraging them not only to appreciate nature, but also to find ways to work together across the broad spectrum of issues we face as they grow older.
Of course I won't pretend that every person who went out and played in the woods or convinced their younger brother to eat a "Daddy Long Legs" like I did grew up to be a Treehugger too, but I suspect it may be something we all benefited from in one way or another.
And let's face reality, kids growing up today face a world of play most quite unlike our own, and we really have no examples to point to of how that will change their outlook on the environment and the world around them down the road.