I remember vividly being a stay-at-home dad to my one-year-old son. During the winter time, we were signed up for five different organized parent & me classes to keep us busy and fill the days. We participated in a Gymboree movement class in the morning and off to music class in the afternoon. A social parenting discussion group the next day…before rushing off to sign language class in the afternoon. Sprinkle in a children’s yoga class and demo classes with our NYC Dads Group community, and we were so busy that we did not have any time for FREE play. Selfishly, I think we took a lot of those classes so I had an excuse to escape from our apartment and socialize with other parents.
Fortunately, one year later, I am wiser about the importance of free, open, and unstructured play time. Currently, we only take 1 or 2 organized classes and spend the majority of our time in local parks and playgrounds with no set agenda exploring the surroundings. We are more adventurous and that is exciting for both my son & I.
Recently, I stumbled upon an awesome parenting resource – KABOOM! Basically, they think there is a play deficit in America! Do you?
“KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to saving play for America’s children. Our mission is to create great playspaces through the participation and leadership of communities. Ultimately, we envision a place to play within walking distance of every child in America.”
These days, it seems society frowns on letting kids play freely outside, and parents instead feel pressured to rush them from one organized activity to the next. Make note of my experience mentioned above!
From Kaboom!…While there’s nothing wrong with organized activities, I think you and your readers would agree that kids also need to play, and that unstructured outdoor play makes children happier, healthier, and smarter. I wanted to let you know about an online pledge, created by the national nonprofit KaBOOM!, that’s specifically for dads who want to join the national movement to restore play to childhood.
The least I could do was hop on this dadwagon & take the pledge myself (only took 20 seconds). It’s nice to see more and more organizations like KABOOM that include fathers in the parenting equation. See you on the playground!