Just Go Play, I'll Be Back
A grassroots movement holds its annual event on Saturday. Will you let your child play at the park?
Saturday is "Take Our Children to the Park...And Leave Them There Day." In its second year, the idea behind the event is to encourage children to play without adult influence, to problem solve and to just have fun. Here is a blog written by a sponsor of the event.
This is a grassroots event gaining noteriety on social media networks such as Facebook.
Vocal opponents claim it is not safe to leave children unattended, both because of predators or the possibility of injury. Proponents claim our children are missing the skill of being able to come up with activites on their own. They say this outlet allows them to be creative, work through problems and interact with other children in a non-competitive atmosphere.
The Woodstock-Towne Lake Patch Moms Council weighs in below, but wants to know what you think. Please commment.
This week's question:
"Does "Take Our Children to the Park...And Leave Them There" Day encourage independence and creativity or is it a disaster waiting to happen?"
Melissa Holder: I strongly support staying out of our children's way when it comes to play time. Children today are often overprogrammed, with little opportunity to just be a kid. Sadly, we seem to have moved completely away from letting kids form pickup games or play "Capture the Flag" for hours. And rare is the time when kids can play until the street lights come on without checking in. The fallout from this lack of independence is the belief that every minute needs to be scripted for them and that an adult will always solve their problems.
So, I support "Take Our Children to the Park...And Leave Them There" Day. And while I don't think I could leave my youngest while I ran to the store, I do feel comfortable finding a shady spot to read, out of their eyesight, but where they can find me in case of trouble. The stories I hear after I "let them go" are always ones of new friends, new games and usually a random act of kindness toward another child.
Leslie Olejnik: I am all for independent play. When my daughters were younger (3 and 4 years old), I had no problem sitting on a bench at our neighborhood park to watch them play quite a distance away. The only time they would come running back was for a drink of water or a Band-Aid. I believe deeply that children need that alone time to learn to interact with each other without adults meddling. The time not only helps them learn to behave properly in society, it helps them learn how to make friends. After all, you can't go around punching people and not sharing and expect to have people like you. I keep the same philosophy when I substitute teach.