This weekend, take a look around to see if you see any kids running or biking around in your neighborhood. Children playing, or not playing, can be seen as a litmus test for overall neighborhood health. Yes physical health, but also the cultural and economic health.
Neighborhoods are suffering these days largely because children are absent. Instead of playing in their neighborhoods, they’re either staring at screens eight hours a day, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study!, doing lots of homework, or attending numerous adult-led activities outside their neighborhoods.How are the children faring with these differently structured lives?They’re suffering, too, perhaps even worse. Pretty much every pediatrician and child psychologist will tell you that children need to play outside, every day. Without frequent outdoor play, children have been getting fatter, sadder, and less socially adept, and all that homework isn’t making them any smarter.
Children’s immediate neighborhoods—right on their block, outside their front door—are the ideal places for them to play outside. These are the safest, most comfortable places for children outside their homes because they can stay within earshot of their parents, and they can also get to know dozens of neighbors.
- What We Lose When Kids Can’t Play in Their Own Streets (theatlanticcities.com)
- My neighborhood is its own little community. (chappytwife.com)
- Go Play in the Street! (freerangekids.com)