Playgrounds are a magical place, where kids let loose and their imagination runs wild. Everyone has a special playground memory, from the first time you succeeded to climb the monkey bars to the time you scraped your knee jumping off the swings.
“King of the playground”. Once upon a time, this was the goal of every child. After school, you meet up with friends for some outdoor fun, climbing and sliding, running around and playing in the sand. In every child’s mind, the playground was a castle, and he was king. Somewhere along the line this perfect childhood fun lost its allure. Kids as young as you can imagine have replaced swings for iPads, seesaws for Facebook and monkey bars for Xbox.
While I am thankful for all the great technology that surrounds me today (I am writing this on a 2lbs laptop while riding the bus), I am even more grateful for the fact that I didn’t have this technology while I was growing up. Kids today don’t seem to appreciate the beauty of hide-and-seek, the difficulty of climbing up the slide from the bottom or the sense of achievement you feel when you make it to the top. As a kid, growing up in the parks of New York City, the best way to make new friends was to go to the playground. The best way to enjoy a rare sunny Sunday morning was to go to the playground. The only place to ride my bike was the playground. My favorite game growing up was when my brothers and I, along with our twin cousins, would try moving around the obstacle course without touching the ground, because in our minds the ground was covered with steaming hot lava, of course. There was only one place you could play the lava game – the playground. I think you’re starting to notice a pattern here.
Today, however, the kiddy kingdom of old has lost its value amongst the tech kids of this new age.
And for this reason, I turn to the parents and request – no – beg, please send your kids to the playground!
Let them learn how to interact with other kids in their world, free of parental guides. Make them feel the sunlight, breathe the air and get dirty in the mud. Teach them to get up when they fall, that sharing is caring and that a scraped knee won’t kill you. Show them the importance of exercise, the beauty of the outdoors and that there are some activities that technology simply can’t replace.
I urge you, don’t let flat screens and AC beat out the wonderful kingdom built just for kids!