My Organic Kids play outside. A lot.
It started with my oldest, we found a wonderful home daycare when I was working, that took the kids outside no matter what.
Snow, rain, shine, hot, cold. It didn't matter, they got to play outside, hike in the woods, and learn from their surroundings.
Then we found Farm School, where they are outside - no matter the weather, to work on a farm. He loves feeding the animals in the snow just as much as he does when it's warm out. At school the kids are trusted to be safe outside, to explore, get dirty, climb trees... things that are certainly not accepted everywhere. Explaining it just a few days ago, I was asked, "but why would you want them to do that?"
Because I think it is important to respect nature, to understand our food system, but most importantly to let kids be kids.
I think it's important to let kids learn how to playground problem solve, without adults butting in and trying to keep their feet dry.
I think it's important, crucial even, for children to be children, without adult imposed scheduling and structure so that they can explore and appreciate the world around them.
Also, D loves mud and puddles.
Actually, to say D loves mud and puddles is an understatement.
He seeks out puddles, mud, 'rivers', and explores anything remotely dirty.
He wants to play in the snow, melt it, drive trucks in it, dig in it, build in it, as if it were sand.
So here is where I confess... no judging please.
I let him play outside... alone.
Hear me out.
I started feeling guilty that after E was born we didn't play outside as much. I was tied to a nursing baby, trying to cook and maintain the house (what a joke...) and we weren't getting outside everyday.
I was feeling guilty that he used to be outside more at daycare than with me at home.
I let go.
And let him out the backdoor.
What a fantastic thing for both of us.
Now ANYTIME he asks, "can I go outside to play" the answer is ALWAYS yes.
Now, there are some rules, boundaries, and I don't leave the rooms with windows to the backyard - but I can cook, nurse, clean, and play with E inside while D soaks up some sun (and inevitably some muddy water).
He tested the limits of where he is allowed to go once - and never again.
It is one of the best things I have done as a parent so far.
Do you let your kids play outside "alone" and "unsupervised"? When is the "right" age to allow it?
Am I insane?
If you agree with me - check out Free Range Kids - FB & book. Reading the book freed me from MANY of the worries I had about children and the 'dangers' they face everyday. Even if you don't agree with me... read it anyway. I promise, it's worth it!
Also - check out The Muddle Puddles Project. They provide even more reasons to let your kids get muddy :)
Hop on over to these blogs where - if they are lucky - I'll share this :)