Make Memories: 10 Things for an Outdoor Play Box

monkey boys

By Nancy Blakey

Try this: ask an adult for a childhood memory—any memory, not the best or worst, just the first few images that rise to mind. I guarantee 99% of those memories will be outside. Campfires, racing down alleys, a fort, the arms of a tree are the rigging good childhood memories hang from. Remember learning to ride a bike? Swimming in a lake? The first taste of a summer berry you plucked from a bush? When you ask a child in September the best thing they did in the summer the answers are uncannily similar to their parents, only the window of time that kids spend outdoors has shrunk dramatically.

The two biggest time stealers of childhood memories are screen time (shows, games, TV, and computer time) and structured activities where an adult is in charge and ‘teaching’ a child how to play. Neither of which will be remembered all that fondly or acutely, and in many cases cause more stress than joy. All humans need doodle and hum time, where we re-charge our creative batteries and integrate the barrage of new information aimed our way every day, kids especially. They approach the world wide open, wired to take it all in. When we lock-step them into a packed schedule with little down time, we are actually hijacking the very things we aim for as parents: passion, capability, accomplishment. Those things hide in daydreaming and meandering, in days without deadlines or rehearsals.scotland This summer give your child the gift of time.

Sleep in, go barefoot, take a day or two a week where nothing much happens. You will be giving your kids memories that will last a lifetime.

Make Memories: 10 Things for an Outdoor Play Box

1. A stopwatch. The simpler the better, for timing jumps, runs and leaps

2. Scraps of wood and nails

3. A long length of rope

4. Balls of all kinds and shapes and sizes

5. 2 Frisbees, one lit by tiny lights for playing at night

6. Buckets and sponges for a game of wet sponge tag

7. A tarp and tent stakes to make a tarp tent

8. A measuring tape for measuring jumps, runs and leaps

9. Shovels, trowels, small hand held rakes

10.Pulleys and clothesline (available at hardware stores). Great for tree time!

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