Think kids should play outside more? Take the lead!
How many times have you said something like this:
“When I was a kid, my friends and I played outside all the time.”
“The problem with kids today is they spend too much time playing video games and not enough time outside.”
The world may be more “safety first” oriented today than it was ten to thirty years ago but this past weekend, I learned that kids still love to play outside–they just need their parents to take them there. Luckily for about twenty Girl Scouts from Millbury and Sutton Massachusetts that’s exactly what their dads and their scout leaders did for them at Camp Laurel in Spencer, Massachusetts.
For several happy hours the girls romped around in the “giant flip flops” my crew and I provided to give them their first snowshoe experiences. I was amazed by their energy and overjoyed by their enthusiasm. They didn’t complain about the cold and thought nothing of flopping around in the snow whenever they needed a break.
As much as the girls impressed me, I was even more impressed with their dads who took time from one of their precious days off from work to spend time with their daughters in the woods. I could tell that snowshoeing was probably not their first choice for the day’s activity, but they made it happen. It really got me thinking about how important it is for us grown-ups to take our children outside as opposed to the other way around. Kids have a natural curiosity about the world around them. It’s up to their parents and other family members to foster that curiosity and help it grow to a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors and the active lifestyle.
It was one of my most enjoyable clinics of the winter and I hope the story inspires you to get outside this weekend with your children, a family member’s children, or a neighbor’s children. It just might spark a passion that will last a lifetime.