by Melissa for grandparents.com
Spontaneous time spent outdoors can have benefits beyond your wildest dreams!
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of playing outdoors. When I was young, no one in my neighborhood had nannies. Sending the kids outside to play was Mom’s free babysitter and the only way she could “get things done.” As long as it wasn’t actually storming, she would shoo us out the door the second our breakfast plates were cleared, and other than a quick, ten-minute sandwich gobble midday, wouldn’t expect us back inside until dinner was literally on the table. This enabled her to accomplish her daily objectives and keep the family functioning: cleaning house, washing clothes, and making nutritious meals.
These days, children don’t have free time to play outside. Sometimes, driving home on a weekend, I make my way through a neighborhood, and am shocked to find no children at all playing in their yards. On a beautiful, sunny day, I find that very disheartening! Most everything in a child’s life today is scheduled with a distinct purpose. The only sunlight and fresh air kids generally get is walking from the car into buildings for their steady stream of activities. Although organized sports participation is at an all-time high, they are more structured and professionally coached than ever, and there is no open-ended play aspect inherent.