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adding to Saturday's survey - a question
Old 06-16-2019, 07:09 AM
  #1

I read all of the responses and noticed that what everyone did as a kid was very similar. Anyone want to discuss?

What precipitated the change so that our kids can no longer do this?

How can we bring these opportunities back for our kids and grandkids?


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Old 06-16-2019, 07:25 AM
  #2

I read the survey results too. That's how I grew up. One year I had a 5/6 class. in reading with them one day I asked my 5th graders about putting playing cards in the spokes of their bicycles. They had never heard of that before (this was maybe 6 years ago). I told them to go home and try it. Some kids did not have clothes pins so I gave them both pins and cards. They came back the next day fascinated and excited by what they had observed.

I think maybe the cause is too many electronics. When I taught 2nd grade (last taught 2010) probably 50% of the kids had cell phones on them at school. These are 7-8 year olds. I taught in a rural area with 65% free and reduced lunches. By the time these same kids hit 6th grade 95% had cell phones.

Also less cars, less electronics (only had 3 -4 TV channels growing up in 50's and 60's); I will be 70 this year.

Just some of my thoughts...
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Good Topic To Discuss
Old 06-16-2019, 07:49 AM
  #3

I think we have more predators today where our children are concerned. Most people don't feel safe allowing their children to ride their bikes or walk out of site in their neighborhoods. They are afraid their child will be kidnapped or worse.

I also think the rising cost of houses means more people live in apartments that don't always provide an outdoor area for children to play.

I believe that technology became addictive to children and keeps them indoors. This is the biggest factor in my opinion.

People do not get to know their neighbors any more in many neighborhoods. This adds to the fear of allowing children outside to play.

Perhaps the discovery of a need for sunscreen is also a factor. Probably a very minor factor but still. Since it needs to be reapplied fairly often it is just easier to stay indoors.

I believe we have to limit screen time to get them back outdoors.

Let's get to know our neighbors. Let's have block parties again. We could plan a time when kids can ride their bikes and all parents could sit in their front yards to monitor all children.

I think we also have to stop buying them so many toys and allow them to create their own and entertain themselves by using their own creativity.

They should be able to play safely in their backyards at least. So perhaps we buy them a swing set and sand box instead of indoor toys.

Maybe we should have a picnic table in the backyard as well. If we serve them breakfast outdoors then maybe they can be encouraged to play outside afterwards.

On a hot day turn the sprinkler on for them and allow them to go out and get wet.

Bubbles and sidewalk chalk are also a way to get kids outdoors with our spending much money.

Hang part of a long roll of paper on the fence and allow them to paint.

Camp in your own back yard with the kids.

Cook outdoors and have a family picnic.

This change would require great effort on the part of parents but I believe the rewards would be very sweet for their children. The problem is many parents did not experience the great outdoors as children either so they don't understand what their child is missing.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:48 AM
  #4

Somehow, I didn't do this particular Sat survey until just now.

My childhood was in the 80s. Since then cell phone games, the internet, more video games, movies on Blu-Ray and 4K, etc. has now taken over.

The only thing I had back then out of what I listed above was SOME video games with my Atari (then I eventually had a Nintendo later as a teen).

I didn't start recording things on VHS tapes until I was a teen, I believe. I didn't even have cable TV until...I don't quite remember, but I think pre-teen.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:54 AM
  #5

Electronics, approaching everything from a position of fear, more households where every adult is working at least one job.


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Old 06-16-2019, 10:58 AM
  #6

I live in a rural area, so quite a few of our kids still get outside a lot. Others, not so much.

When we had field day, we had a lot of whiny kids that had no idea how to entertain themselves. They were hot. They were bored. They got wet. There weren’t any chairs. Good grief.
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How
Old 06-16-2019, 11:40 AM
  #7

Quote:
How can we bring these opportunities back for our kids and grandkids?
My friends and I have been asking this question as well. It is really hard to find solutions.

Quote:
The problem is many parents did not experience the great outdoors as children either so they don't understand what their child is missing.
This is so true. When I tell people about my childhood, they look at me as if I'm from Mars and think my parents were neglectful to allow us to go anywhere without watching us every second.

My DD and granddaughters live in a child-friendly neighborhood that dates from the early 1900s. The people who live there are mostly Gen X's who did experience some of the freedoms of playing outdoors, and who purposely chose this neighborhood instead of the suburbs. DD's house is tiny and was built in 1921 with streets that are too narrow for two cars to pass each other. This allows the kids in the neighborhood to play outside as people are forced to drive very slowly through the streets. Because most of the houses are so small, the kids play outside in the front yards or on the sidewalks. There is also a community park with a community garden, so groups of kids go to play there or help in the garden. There is a grassy area where they play soccer or bocce ball. One of their favorite things is climbing the trees. Some parents will accompany their kids to the park but are pretty laid back.

1956 has many good suggestions. I'd add city planning and architecture that build community into the mix.
If we must build suburbs, make them child friendly instead of having each house turn into itself. Having three car garages upfront instead of a friendly old-fashioned front porch isolates people. Tall fences or walls like those in my neighborhood scream "stay out." Front porches or yards with 3-foot fencing invite more neighborly activity. We need to get away from the fear that everyone is out to get us.
Some suburbs have added protected bicycle lanes and wide sidewalks that invite people/kids to ride/play/walk. Pocket parks in every few blocks allow more outdoor play.
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:13 PM
  #8

I agree that it's electronics/technology - and this impacts our world in a lot of different ways.

Yes, many kids are addicted to technology these days. And I do, seriously, mean addicted. If they're away from it, they're thinking about it and how soon they can get back to it. And it's not just the kids, it's their parents, too. This is what's being modeled for them. Even conscientious parents who know their kids should play outside will take them to the park or the beach and then sit there and stare at their smart phones the whole time.

When I was a child I biked all over town. I was allowed to go pretty much anywhere I wanted as long as I told the adult in charge where I was going. Now, I don't ever allow my 9-year-old grandson to bike around town by himself. In fact, I don't bike around town very much myself because I don't like sharing the road with people who are driving vehicles while staring at their smart phones. Fortunately we have bike trails that are not alongside roads and that's where we ride our bikes. But I load our bikes on a bike rack and drive to get there.

I don't really think that we have more predators today than we ever had but I think we're much more aware of them now, thanks to the internet and news as entertainment. The irony of parents not allowing their kids to play outside or go anywhere alone is that pedophiles rarely meet kids that way. Most kids are victimized by friends/relatives of their parents, by people they meet at activities their parents signed them up for (coaches, camp counselors, youth pastors, etc.) or predators who search them out on the internet.

And, it's absolutely true that what was considered normal parenting 50 years ago is now considered neglectful. I walked 5 blocks to school when I was in kindergarten - by myself after the first week. Three of those blocks didn't have sidewalks so I walked in the gutter. That was normal then. Now I think the school would sic social services on parents who did that.

I think it's just a fact of life in there here and now that parents have to go out of their way to teach children to enjoy the outdoors. My grandson lives with me half the time. When he's with me, we go camping, we ride bikes on the trail, we hike/snowshoe on other trails. There are several nature centers in the area that offer day camps and I always sign him up for at least one every summer. I'm a pretty fair naturalist myself, so when we hike we identify all kinds of flora and fauna, tracks and scat. He often plays in the back yard by himself. By himself because, although there are kids next door, they never go outside. The only way I even know there are kids there is that the school bus stops for them.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:28 AM
  #9

And I have noticed over the years, being in the same area, that students don't have access to much of a yard nor does the parent have tools. When I first started teaching, asking students to build something was no problem. No longer can you do this. The area is changing from mostly agriculture/rural to suburban. Endless fields are becoming rooftops. Now the school has to offer courses in outdoor education. Who would have imagined that you would have to learn how to use a hammer or screwdriver in school!

One of my homework assignments is to sweep the kitchen for your parent. (simple machines) I had to show several students how to use a broom. Another assignment (observation) for students to go outside without technology for an hour (with parent permission of course) and just look and listen. Then write down what they observed. This is like pulling teeth! One would think I assigned 200 math problems! And sometimes this takes more than one try for them to actually slow down long enough to notice nature ; but when they do, they are amazed!

Quote:
I'm a pretty fair naturalist myself, so when we hike we identify all kinds of flora and fauna, tracks and scat.
Love it!

Fading way too are those local newspapers that kept everyone "in the loop" as to what was going on in the community.

People being more mobile and moving in or out of communities.

And then a community is in real trouble if you don't have the local morning coffee drinkers that meet up at the DQ or local restaurant to solve the problems of the community and know who's kid made the wrong block during Friday night's football game or here how hardworking so-and-so's kid is because he came and mowed the yard.! Fading fast another kid job - mowing yards because few kids want to be outside and work, thus comes the lawn service businesses.
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