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Old 03-18-2012, 06:03 PM
Status: "Serendipity as a lifestyle" (set 4 days ago)
 
Location: On a hill near a river
14,369 posts, read 11,941,552 times
Reputation: 5719
May I offer an indoor play suggestion for people who have or regularly spend time with younger children?

Visit your local lumber mill, furniture maker, or other woodworking establishment. Offer to take a pickup load of mill-ends off their hands for free (or, if they want to charge you, offer to pay a nominal price).

Bring the wood home, sand off the rough edges, and you've got a guaranteed sure-fire play set that will last for years and fascinate kids for hours. Lots of different shapes can be built -- and then knocked down! -- over and over again.

My kids (both boys) loved building castles. (Actually, one liked to build them, and his mischievous little brother enjoyed destroying his creations!) My little nieces were thrilled when I built immense castle-dollhouses for them to inhabit with their dolls. One of my clever nieces turned HERS into a hair salon, and proudly charged everyone else a nickel for a doll haircut (my son's GI Joe dolls got a brush cut gratis).

Engineering, construction, destruction, basic physics, proportion, fantasy, dreaming, and a whole lot of fun on rainy or snowy days. What's not to like?

 
Old 03-18-2012, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
3,511 posts, read 3,050,693 times
Reputation: 3158
Has the surreal video game environments, thrill-based amusements, etc., stolen childhood from our children?

Yes it has. Kids can't even read books anymore because of things like the Kindle. I find it sad that kids won't go outside and play due to fear of lawsuits, kidnappers around every corner, and electronics. Nobody just plays in the dirt, wades in the creek, or climbs trees anymore. As a child of the 80s and 90s I was always outside. Video games were played at night or when it was cold and raining. Now I hate video games and wish they had a disclaimer about enjoying the real world on it.
 
Old 03-18-2012, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Chicago
4,139 posts, read 4,490,922 times
Reputation: 4203
Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoEagle View Post
Has the surreal video game environments, thrill-based amusements, etc., stolen childhood from our children?

Yes it has. Kids can't even read books anymore because of things like the Kindle. I find it sad that kids won't go outside and play due to fear of lawsuits, kidnappers around every corner, and electronics. Nobody just plays in the dirt, wades in the creek, or climbs trees anymore. As a child of the 80s and 90s I was always outside. Video games were played at night or when it was cold and raining. Now I hate video games and wish they had a disclaimer about enjoying the real world on it.
The Kindle is an electronic viewer of book texts. The Kindle encourages book reading as it allows easy and immediate download of book texts. For example, my son finished a library book one evening and couldn't wait to start the next one in the series (the library was closed). Within 5 minutes, I had downloaded the book through Kindle and he was reading it at bedtime. Kindle is a wonderful invention for readers IMO.

Every kid I know plays outside, in the dirt, in the creek, in the trees. This is the normal, usual way the kids I know operate. I am a parent/volunteer who spends much of my time with kids. They are everywhere outside in my community. They are at the parks, ball fields, fishing at the creek (my 10 y.o. and his friends are avid fishermen), they pull frogs out of the mud, they are in the dirt planting gardens with their parents. As I said, I must be living in some sort of utopia based on the comments on this thread. But I just call it "normal."
 
Old 03-19-2012, 02:44 AM
 
Location: Northridge/Porter Ranch, Calif.
18,264 posts, read 15,718,456 times
Reputation: 4477
I was surprised to see some kids playing football in the street in my neighborhood. Only on the weekend and a few times during the last 5-6 weeks. I think some don't live in the area and are visiting friends. But I was glad to see it. I did the same thing on the very same street about 35 years ago.

Trick-or-Treating is still alive and well, too. Last year, there were 119 at my house.
 
Old 03-19-2012, 11:53 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,440 posts, read 3,618,852 times
Reputation: 2999
1. Revolving door of justice - too many "weirdos" out and about. I have four kids (26, 21, 19, and 14) - 2 girls and 2 boys. My oldest two would go out and play, but I lived in military housing most of their childhood. My youngest two, I wouldn't play outside for most of the places I lived after I retired from the military because I am not allowed to take care of them myself (I don't trust the liberal-minded mentality allowed in the justice system and sitting on juries), and the justice system has shown they can't take care of society too well anymore either.

2. Where I live it's too hot. It get's up to over 100 regularly (we had over 100 days over 100 degrees last year). So, too much physical activity is ill-advised. We had them in sports, though (soccer, basketball, etc.) for their physical fitness. But, the city has most of those recreation league games heavy regulated to account for the heat (time outs for water when the "official" game rules don't have something like that), etc.

What I feel most bad about is the loss of imagination by the lack of social "playing" that takes place with today's electronic games. Most games today (including the popular MMOs) already have a storyline that you simply follow (Fable, World of Warcraft, Gears of War, etc.). You don't have to "pretend" or think of a direction for a game to go. The child of today has to think less with their imagination, making me wonder what the innovation of tomorrow will look like?
 
Old 03-19-2012, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,820 posts, read 30,969,684 times
Reputation: 11762
In general, I agree that in many places fewer kids play outside. That is not true in all places. I think some part of it is the current lifestyle in sterile comforming crowded subdivisions with all features of any interest to a kid removed. If every house is the same, why go to some other house? If there is nothing but identical houses for a mile or so, what is there to explore see or do without parents? Sure there are parks, but they are places that kids go on a planned outing with parents. Not on a whim.

We live where it is still interesting and relatively safe for kids. When it is nice out, our streets and yards are filled with both kids and adults on bikes, foot, skates, etc. When it is super cold they come out less and/or stay in their yards. The kids have enough sense to stay out of icy roads. During winter it gets dark early so many of them are inside by dark (5 p.m. or so). During summer they stay all over the place until dark (9-10 p.m.). Youth and teens are often out on the river in small boats or canoes/kayaks. Older teens of course are far too cool to play. They are too busy being cool.

There are places where very few kids play outside anymore. I think it is because of the whole risk averse paranoia going on in our society. Every possible risk is blown up by the media and even by the government regardless of whether the risk is real or not. We live in a nanny state. We are made to believe that we should be protected from any form of risk, including our own abject stupidity. Fear mongering is a national sport. Parents fret constantly over absurdly remote risks and even non-existent risks based on misinformation. "New Mom Syndrome" seems to last for decades with many families these days (and it applies to dads too). I cannot imagine what will happen if the current generation gets even more risk averse. All children will be raised inside a bubble.

Some kids are raised too soft IMO. If it is hot, or cold or windy or raining, or cloudy. . . . stay inside. Scouting troops go "camping" in malls, or rent a condo. Do not risk any discomfort. You are entitled to be constantly comfortable and never deal with an adverse circumstances. What? Crazy.

Our rules (Do not leave the island, be back by dark, or call, and if it is not beelding, I do not want the hear about it. No one can spend the night unless their parents and we know about it (not always followed)) are unusually permissive these days. Many parents wil not allow their kids outside alone, will not allow them in the woods, in a boat, on a bicycle, sled, scooter etc without parents hovering over them. Some parents do not allow their kids to play with our kids, becasue the feel we are too permissive. Our kids have common sense. We feel that they need to learn and in part you learn by making mistakes. The also need to learn to make judgements as to risks and benfits. Is the thrill of the flight and the cheers of your friend actually worth the potential broken leg? If kids are raised to avoid all risks, our society will never get anywhere. Taking risks is how you accomplish things. I am afraid that we are loosing that however.

Kids are strapped, restained, armored, restricted, watched, sanitized, disinfected . . . . until they can hardly move. We could never bring ourselves to raise our kids that way.

Notwithstanding our attitudes, our kids take very few stupid risks compared to what we did.
 
Old 03-19-2012, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn New York
12,143 posts, read 11,372,187 times
Reputation: 13544
my sons all played outside also, and we live in brooklyn, NY. It was safe, and i felt comfortable
We do have a lot of parks here, for skatebaording, rollerbalding, bike riding. etc

my bous know the streets good here, and i am confident.....



boys need to become men, so they need to be out and explore.
 
Old 03-19-2012, 12:49 PM
 
3,056 posts, read 1,888,328 times
Reputation: 4790
I've lived in a bunch of places and like I said earlier, lots of kids still play outside regularly it just isn't totally unsupervised anymore unless you have a fenced in backyard or something along those lines. This goes for big cities as well as smaller towns in my experience. So there is not as much, say, touch football in the street but there is plenty of climbing trees and digging dirt in backyards.
 
Old 03-20-2012, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Florida
1,074 posts, read 809,920 times
Reputation: 1415
My kids ride their bikes and climb trees, but we don't live in a neighborhood with other kids, or at least not with kids who play outside! There is a family next door, but I hardly ever see those children. There is also a family with a little girl around the corner, but she is never out playing without her parents (I think part of it is that it's the only house on that street, and I can see not letting a seven-year-old out on a deserted street all by herself). We need to drive to the park (there's not one within walking/biking distance) a couple of times per week so the kids can run off with their friends.
 
Old 03-20-2012, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
2,300 posts, read 1,588,555 times
Reputation: 2837
Seems like so much activity for kids nowadays is formal. They get into the car w/ mom or dad and go to a structured environment to do that activity.

And of course video games, TV and internet dominate most kids nowadays. If a kid can play LeBron James in NBA2K, he usually doesn't feel the need to develop basketball skills of his own.

So the end result is a bunch of overweight, lazy and shy kids.
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