If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.
Growing up, technology was not readily available in most households besides the TV. I remember spending my afternoons playing outside with the neighborhood kids and my mom having to call us in once it got dark. These are my fond memories as a child, enjoying playing outside. I even have memories playing in the patio at my grandma’s house in Mexico. We would play with mud, pretend to make houses out of wood that was laying around, and getting as dirty as we wanted. Nothing else mattered, just having fun and playing outdoors.
Unfortunately, the new generations do not know what outside play is. Kids are consumed by television and technology. Playing outside becomes a second thought. As parents, it is important to expose our children to nature and outdoors play. I was reminded of this when we took our daughter to a nearby farm. An older preschool teacher started talking to us about how much she missed bringing her children to this farm. She continued that children nowadays get consumed by technology to understand the beauty of nature. She explained that it is important for children to know where their food comes from, see and touch animals, or simply be outdoors. At that moment, I was thankful that we are able to provide these experience for our daughter. She was running around the farms, exploring everything she could. We took the corn field tour that took us around the farm, stopping along the way to taste vegetables and pick out corn. My husband had grown up with corn fields in Oaxaca. I felt a happiness that my daughter was able to experience this and be able to see how corn is grown. Honestly, I was there for the photos but I was glad that my daughter go more than that. She created new experiences and memories running around the farm. It reminded me to be more intentional with our family outings and always try to make it a fun learning experience because after all, happy and healthy children play outside.
There are so many benefits to outdoor play for your child from physical activity and developing their motor skills to appreciating nature, using their imagination, and creating happier children.