This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.
Guess what, summertime is here, and it’s time to toss the iPads and tablets to the side and get out and actually “interact” with your kids and family. The latest princess rom-com can be DVR’ed for a rainy day with your daughter(s), and the newest in superhero stardom can definitely wait for little junior. Put away the princess/superhero starter kit, and get out and, more importantly, get active.
Earlier this year, the good folks at Voice of Play identified eight of the most playful trends for this year. For information on what is trending on all things active, you can click here. While I can identify with most of them, number five stuck with me the most. The Voice of Play is an education and advocacy initiative of the non-profit membership association, IPEMA (International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association) , formed to educate and promote the benefits of children’s free outdoor play and playgrounds. Through the Voice of Play website and social media properties, IPEMA highlights the scientifically proven physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits of play.
Mr. & Mrs. Suburbanite, you may live near a famous National Park, state park, or just some little play area that some area businessman stuck his name on for some good public relations. It doesn’t matter; get out and explore it, embrace it, and, better than that, do it as a family! After being stuck in the daily corporate grind of turning paper clips into tiddlywinks just to kill the time before leaving the office or treating the next phone call at work like it’s bad news from your doctor, what better way to brighten up your day then spending the great outdoors with your family?
Recently my daughter and my new family had an opportunity to visit Rock Island State Park in Wisconsin. Granted, we were on vacation and, as a family, have visited local parks and the riverfront in the past, but this one was just a little different. In between the roughly four miles we walked on the island that day, I realized that seeing children outside of their own element getting a chance to explore is something every parent should embrace.
In between “no, don’t touch that, it’s poison ivy,” there were plenty of tender moments explaining to them how the forest works, hiking the amazing trails, and taking in the wildlife in general. Racing to see the lighthouse on the island is something I will never forget. To say it was a proud parental moment would be an understatement. The hard-working people at Voice of Play want you to adopt the same policy!
Life has advanced light years from when I was a kid, but the great outdoors hasn’t. Don’t let your children forget this. Technology is a great thing, but technology is also the devil when it comes to children. Too many are stuck building the latest and greatest structure in some popular app or watching hours of YouTube. In my day, it was called Atari and MTV, but I’m trying to make sure my daughter and extended family don’t forget there is more to life than making sure some electronic device has been properly charged the day before.
Join the Voice of Play and their movement in promoting playful trends. If getting in touch with nature isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options you and your family can explore. The bottom line is don’t be sedentary and enjoy life and, more importantly, your time spent with your children. They will grow up eventually, and you don’t want to be “that” person that lives a life full of regrets because you were more worried about picking out the right tie for a business function or making sure you had your nails done for a company picnic. Take your kids outside!