A Wonderful Way to Spend Childhood

A Wonderful Way to Spend Childhood

According to this article, “Roughly 25% of Americans live like vampires, hardly ever venturing outside and living through their computer and television screens while doing all their shopping through Amazon, according to The Washington Times.

“Peter Foldbjerg, the head of daylight energy and indoor climate at Velux, a window manufacturing company, said an increasing number of Americans do not get adequate outdoor time, including fresh air and sunlight.

“’We are increasingly turning into a generation of indoor people where the only time we get daylight and fresh air midweek is on the commute to work or school,’ said Foldbjerg.”

For about 30 hours a few days ago, I had three of my grandchildren stay at my home while their parents had a little bit of a break to enjoy their anniversary. I picked them up in the afternoon and had them until the next night. When they woke up in the morning, I fed them breakfast and they played contentedly in the home until “papa” woke up.

Around 9:00 am, they asked if they could go outside in front to play. I was outside in front with them until 6:00 pm! It was an absolutely beautiful day and it’s amazing what fun children have outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Children need a lot of large muscle movement. They don’t need TV or iPad watching. There is a huge advantage to living out in the country where children have a lot of room to run, climb, and play. It’s not only good for their body but for their mind too.

For the first few hours, it was just my grandchildren playing with various things we have for them to play with. Around noon, a neighborhood girl came home from school and played. I always like my grandchildren to play where I can see and hear them.

By mid-afternoon, there were probably eleven children out in front riding bikes, scooters, skateboards, and a battery-operated car. The roads were kind of blocked off so the cars would clearly see the children. The children would all yell out “CAR!” so the children would get out of the street and the cars would creep slowly by and the people would wave to us.

Around 5:30, my neighbor across the street yelled out to me, “You get the greatest grandma award!” He had seen that I was outside all day with the children. Most of my neighbors came out for one thing or another and remarked how much they loved seeing children all playing outside together since it’s a rare site to see these days.

This is how childhood should be! When Ken and I take walks every day around our neighborhoods, it’s rare that we see even a few children playing outside. When I was a child, we played outside until the sun set!

I realize that most of you don’t have time to sit outside for nine hours a day and watch your children play but how about an hour or two? I did this when my children were young and we all loved it. The children would all play and the mothers would chat. Just by me sitting out in front of my yard with my grandchildren, many other children and even adults joined us.

When I put my grandchildren to bed at night, they conked out! They were happy and exhausted. I fed them healthy food for meals, made them make their bed and clean up after themselves, and let them play. What a wonderful way to spend childhood, after they do their schoolwork and chores, of course!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:17

6 thoughts on “A Wonderful Way to Spend Childhood

  1. Amen. We do this to the best of our ability. It’s so sad to see how rare this is these days. I think situations with working moms and single moms make it even harder. Additionally, one hugely complicating factor is the fact that many parents today (myself included) have to live in fear that someone will call CPS upon seeing children outside. It’s unfortunately getting more and more common for that to happen. But having children outside (not inside on a screen) is still the healthiest way to raise children!!

  2. Amen! It’s so wonderful that the crowd of kids playing just grew and grew from that little beginning of just your 3 grandchildren playing. We live on a wooded lot of almost 3 acres on the outskirts of town. We have 3 sons and a daughter ages 5-12 and all they do is play outside! They know not to even bother asking about TV, iPad, or computer until after dinner. And since we homeschool they’re usually done before lunch, so even in winter they play outside in the snow together and even climb trees in their snowpants. I can’t imagine living where there’s no room for the kids to be outdoors and be active, I know there are a lot of people who have to really go out of their way to find that where they live. We feel God’s presence out here in nature, such a blessing.

  3. My children play outside a lot! We live in the country and have a secluded back yard. They have been catching frogs and playing in water the past few weeks. It’s so good for them!

  4. Amen to this! This was a big reason we moved from our comfy town home to a rustic setting in the country. My eight children are outside so much that by winter, we are happy to be cooped up and cozy in the inside of our home. We live, eat, play and work outside from May-October. It is so healthy, I agree! There is so much more freedom in the country where people are not watching your every move. I struggled in town because we homeschooled – so the children would be out during school hours when they were finished school. Also, with eight children, that attracts a lot of attention! I am so thankful we have moved!

  5. I’m one who lives in a small city and having the kids play outside is my biggest challenge for sure. I put them in a lot of physical activities through the city and other means but it still isn’t nearly enough. It seems likely that we will have the opportunity to move next year. Outside space will definitely be a priority for us.

    It was mentioned above the fear of having CPS called on you and in today’s world I understand! My next door neighbors had this happen to them because they moved into a tent due to mold in their home (it was summer). Before they were able to find an apartment to move to (took about 3 weeks) CPS showed up and made their lives miserable. Another acquaintance had CPS show up because her kids were riding their bikes in the street with their father in the yard watching them. Their neighbor didn’t feel it was safe and now they have been through the ringer trying to keep CPS out of their lives.

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