We give our children lots of time for unstructured, outdoor play. Our younger two girls are not in school, and many weekday mornings we take them to our neighborhood park to play.
At the park, there is a small playground and grassy hill. We don't bring toys because the park, and it's natural surroundings provide the inspiration needed for play.
Most mornings there are very few children playing, but almost always there is a set of twin boys playing at the same time as our girls. For several months, we have been going to this park, and our twin girls have never played with the twin boys.
For months, they have been observing each other until this past week when they finally played together.
Our girls were racing up and down the small hill. The boys stood to the side in what looked like wonder maybe because our girls, though tiny, are very fast.
Then without saying a word, the boys joined our girls. All four lined themselves up at the top of the hill, and one of our girls shouted out, "Go!" They all raced down the hill together.
Intuitively, they understood the rules of their game. Each waited for the last child to come down the hill before they began racing back up the hill.
Over and over again, they ran up and down the hill.
A pure joy of smiles and laughter filled each child. No child cared who was first or last. They delighted in the thrill of running as fast as they could down the hill and the challenge of running up it.
There was eager anticipation as each child waited for the others to finish. For over a half an hour, these children who are strangers, except at the park, ran the hill together.
What is remarkable is that the two sets of three year olds don't speak the same language. Somehow through the language of play, they learned how to communicate and connect with each other.
Giving our children the opportunity for unstructured play at this same park, at this same time, almost every day has allowed our children to develop friendships on their own terms. No adult interference was needed to create this opportunity for them except bringing them to this playground.
Tell me more more about the public outdoor spaces you visit frequently with your children.
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It puts a smile on my face to see children around the world enjoying the simple pleasure of playing outside. Now, it's your turn to share your kids have been playing outside.This post is linked up to Link & Learn, It's Playtime! and Tuesday Tots.