As a mom of 2 boys, I NEED outdoor play time. The winter months really do me in! So each and every opportunity I have to get the kids outside I take, even if it's rearranging schedules, appointments (especially in the colder months) and nap times! I think any mom of boys understands the NEED of space! I may be mistaken, maybe girls need the wide open just as much as the boys do, but speaking as a mom of boys, they literally will bounce off the walls if they don't get physical activity in. Evan and Carter are good boys, but they are such different little creatures in winter versus the warmer months!
We are fortunate enough to live in a great city that believes in great parks. That is one of the reasons that I LOVE where we live. We are in walking distance to many playgrounds and short driving distances to many more playgrounds and nature reserves. And trust me, we visit ALL of them on a rotation. Ha!
We are also fortunate to have an amazing back yard! Our backyard was the selling point to the house we live in. But unfortunately we didn't have a play set in our yard - we had a swing set left over from a previous owner and we purchased a sand box and a Little Tikes play set (which the boys have outgrown).
So when I was contacted by Backyard Discovery to be an ambassador, I truly didn't think twice about it!! I mean, I think I actually squealed and jumped up and down ;-)!
*I am now getting on my soap box temporarily*
As an educator, I believe play is the one most important building block that is starting to be ignored in our society. We, as parents, want so much for our children, that we are enrolling in preschools at earlier ages and in sports in earlier ages (and yes I fall into this category), and teaching our kids technology almost immediately at birth, which leaves little time to just PLAY! When I was teaching, it was humorous, yet disheartening at the same time, to us teachers watching the kids at recess. Most of the 5th graders I had, didn't know how to just play. They would spend the majority of the recess time arguing about rules and who was going to make the decisions instead of just going out and starting a pick up game or designing their own game to play. Our kids have been told what to do by teachers, coaches and technology so much, they have NO idea how to play on their own. Again - I'm not saying that preschools, sports and technology are right or wrong. But I am saying that we NEED to give our kids time to be kids - unstructured- all out play time. Time to explore what their bodies are capable of, time to learn about the world around them, time to jump and climb and swing and get dirty, time to discover, create and fail!! I have found that this "unstructured" play time brings as MUCH learning moments as "structured" learning time.
*I am now getting down from my soap box* ;-)
Anyways, a few weeks ago, Jeremy sent me a link that he thought I would find interesting. Because let's face it, an artist and an analytical math person rarely find topics that we both find interesting. Ha ha, but that is why I fell in love with him! So instead of giving you all kinds of educational terms and links, I though I would share the article that he sent me.
The article is, "Frog Design: The Four Secrets of Playtime That Foster Creative Kids" by Laura Seargeant Richardson. I LOVED this article! Laura sums it all up in one sentence, "Our world is increasingly filled with play that makes kids passive consumers instead of active creators." She then writes a great article on how to get our kids more actively involved in being creators! Go check it out! You can thank me later ;-)!
There is a myth, common in American culture, that work and play are entirely separate activities. I believe they are more entwined than ever before. As the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget once said, “Play is the answer to how anything new comes about.” A playful mind thrives on ambiguity, complexity, and improvisation—the very things needed to innovate and come up with creative solutions to the massive global challenges in economics, the environment, education, and more. (also from the article "Frog Design: The Four Secrets of Playtime That Foster Creative Kids")
Okay so maybe I wasn't fully off my soap box, but now I really am! Ha! I promise!
Anyway, as I was saying, when the folks at Backyard Discovery asked me to join their campaign and be an ambassador, how could I say "no"? So I didn't.
I am super, super, super excited to be working with Backyard Discovery. What will this mean for you, my readers? I will be posting about how my kids will be using outdoor play to foster creativity, posting ideas on how to foster playtime and creativity and also will be helping spread the word on all things Backyard Discovery.
* Disclosure: This post was written as part of the Backyard Discovery Ambassador campaign, which I am proud to be a part of! I was provided with a Backyard Discovery Playset and other tools from Backyard Discovery to help facilitate my reviews and posts during the campaign, but all posts and opinions in them are purely my own and my kiddo's.