Getting Back to the Days of “Playing Outside”!

Bubble gum, bubble gum in the dish……how many pieces do you wish? Police lady, police lady do your duty ‘cause here comes the lady with the African booty. She can wiggle, she can wobble, she can do a split but I bet you $5 she can’t do this………!

I know that you were singing some of those songs in your head as you were reading this. But I can truly say that I miss the days of playing outside. I remember coming home from school with my homework done because I was anxious to go outside and my mother or father would check my work and then turn to me with direct eye contact and say “you better watch for cars, don’t be out there acting a fool and be home before the streetlights come on!” I knew without a shadow of a doubt that if I ignored any of those directions, it would be trouble. Once outside with my friends, we huddled up and chose ‘base’ and then we all placed our foot in a circle as we counted off to see who was ‘it’. My oh my……those were the days.

Now as time has it, I am a mother of 3 girls and 2 boys and I watch as my kids like to spend their free time home from school on tablets, phones and Xbox. When told to go outside and play, we get the response “There is nothing to do outside” or “I don’t want to go outside”. I found myself (as old as I am) outside with the dog either jump roping or hula hooping by myself. I was upset that I came to realization that social media has replaced ‘outside’!

Over the years I can look back and say ‘outside’ has taught me a lot of things that makes me the woman who I am today. I learned socialization…..real socialization without a phone in my hand. I learned respect….when the elders say “get out the street” or “stop climbing that tree before you hurt yourself”, I listened cause there was a neighborhood bond….unity…community….A VILLAGE! ‘Outside’ taught me things that I never knew that I was learning through the games that I was playing such as:

Hide and go seek- Taught Patience

Hop Scotch/ hula hoop- perseverance (both of those for me took patience and time before mastering)

Jump rope/ double dutch- goal setting and reaching

Jacks- working under pressure

Mother May I/ Simon Says- following directions

There were a lot of games and lessons learned. I have to make it my business to ensure that my children don’t miss out on those things…… Those things are what create community and create an environment of togetherness. Something as simple as playing ‘outside’ can be passed down as a trait of unification. Let’s get back to the days of street lights and ‘Allie Allie All Come FREE’. Our children are in need of it, our community is in need of it. Let’s get back outside!

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