Sunny days, bicycle waiting to take you out on adventures, footballs rolling over the street, chalk on fingers after making an even longer hopsctoch. Children used to play outdoors, unsupervised. Shock horror or are we missing out on something here?
I remember on a trip to Copenhagen I walked past several children, dear I say as young as 3 years old, playing unsupervised in the streets of Vesterbro. Such a lovely sight, and I had a sudden feeling that I deprived my children from a crucial freedom by living in London where children almost needs a PA to keep control over their activities and scheduled playdates.
It’s gone as far as a girl 10 warned by police after chalking a hopscotch on the pavement, outside her Ramsgate home. We need to act!
Yes, there’s more people, more cars and of course it’s therfor more dangerous. But removing playing children from the streets will not help. What if smaller communities and streets decided on opening up for free play in the streets? Or you could find your nearest quiet backstreet or sidewalk, or venture out into local parks and playgrounds.
Children’s street games, that are almost forgotten, include; Butts Up, Half-rubber or half ball, Punchball, Stickball and Patball. There’s Clapping games, Hopscotch, Singing game. Skipping rope or Skipping and String games such as cat’s cradle. And last but not least; Marbles, Ringolevio and Skully, as lovely alternatives to tablet based games played alone indoors.
So what do you say? Grab the football and ask you child to return for dinner. Or help them set up a lemonade stand. Do you accept the challenge?
Remember, with no other children, this initiative will end as quickly as it’s begun. “There were no other children in the park mum” or “there was a sign in the playground saying children under 12 can not be unsupervised”. So make sure to mobilise other parents in your area.
If you have any thoughts, experience, advice or ideas, we would love to hear it!