I would play by building fairy houses, stringing daisy chains, creating mazes in the tall grasses, lying idly on my back, and finding shapes in the passing clouds. When I was a child, these were a few of my favorite things.
I was in a world of my own making. I was outside, and it was wonderful!
Now there are studies extolling the benefits of playing outside, benefits essential to the positive development of children. But I prefer to go by my own experience. I remember long days of wandering around the yard, then, as my siblings and I grew older, beginning to explore the neighborhood for inspiration of what this-or-that game we would play. Today, as I sit outside, I’m inspired to seek out the little worlds around me, to watch the insects busying themselves with relatively enormous tasks, listen to the birds, and chuckle at the antics of the ever-busy squirrels.
When we are young, we see things that adults never see.
We feel the sun upon us, and our developing minds can, and do, explore the world around us, as our imagination soars.
I recall times spent with a sister and brother, creating complex mazes in the tall grasses in a nearby field. We couldn’t wait to return, day after day, to concoct more stories to accommodate our ever-expanding vision.
At other times, one of my sisters would take me on long walks in a nearby forest. She told me about kings and queens that once ruled faraway lands, and we laughed together as she shared the eccentric ways of long-ago wealthy aristocrats.
I don’t recall ever feeling too cold or too hot, and the dirt in which we built forts was always clean.
Yes, playing outside has incredible benefits. You become alert to the world around you. You look more closely at the tiny creatures scurrying to and fro. Your imagination knows no boundaries.
Yes, let the children play outside. You may want to join them in re-discovering the wondrous delights of the world in which we live. Days spent outside inspire creativity, but more than anything else, they gave me a profound respect for all creatures—great and small—and the precious nature of life.—By Kathy Heaton