I remember my favorite park as a child.
|Girl sporting the sailor outfit = me.|
A giant, pipe-like, jungle gym with faded out, colored pieces connecting the bars. Two metal slides, one twenty-five feet high for the risk takers and a smaller version for the weak. Two, wooden teeter-totters that allowed me to assist the bossy, neighbor girl in accidentally becoming airborne. A saucer with the metal head of a smiling bear perched on the edge for little hands to tightly grip as the saucer sailed in circles, and then, the witch’s hat. Oh, that glorious piece of playground equipment. Too young to remember? Maybe this will help.
That’s me in the center holding the older girl’s hand. Fine, that’s a lie. I’m not in this picture, but that’s a witch’s hat, and as it sailed up and down and round and round, it made you scream for your life and for the sheer fun of it, all at the same time.
Oh, and if you fell…
No soft recycled bits of tire or tiny wood chips would break your impact. You crashed on the hard ground, in the dirt, on top of rocks, and you know what? It never got old, never.
As a child, I could spend hours at the park, and I did.
Today as I look around my neighborhood do you know what is missing? Witch’s hats? Um, obviously, but no. I don’t see enough kids. Don’t get me wrong, I see kids. I see them shuttled back and forth from one activity to the next, but rarely do I see kids playing.
Apparently, kids aren’t just absent from my neighborhood, kids are missing from outdoor activities in general, and that my friends is something the nonprofit, organization KaBoom calls The Play Deficit.
KaBoom isn’t taking this Play Deficit lightly. In fact, KaBoom believes lack of play is causing profound social, emotional, and physical harm to our kids, but instead of just whining and throwing statistics at you, KaBoom works to do something about it.
They do this by building playgrounds, handing out grant money to spruce up already existing playgrounds, making a national effort to map out and rate every playground in the US, and much, much more. As in you need to click on the site to see how much more.
Now questions for you. Tell about your favorite piece of old time playground equipment or tell about the kids surrounding you. Do they play? Do your kids play? Do you?
Oh, tell you how this is related to family service? You just wait. I have a special surprise coming your way, and no, it's not in the form of green dollar bills, it's in the form of links, fabulous links, and it has to do with serving your family this summer, and making play a priority.