By Fredrica Syren
Sometimes when people come over to my house, they are a little horrified to run into my wild kids, who love being outdoors all day long and like to make mud cakes, spray each other with water, and get down and dirty. For me, this is just part of letting kids be kids while they still can be exactly that. You would laugh at how many pine cones, leaves, rocks and sticks are accumulating in my home, all which my kids have gathered during our hikes and nature walks. They collect them for art projects or just because they are so nice looking. They love looking at bugs, worms and other creatures, and usually will name each one of them. On rainy days we bundle up and go looking for snails, find the biggest and juiciest water puddles and jump in them until we can’t jump anymore. I like to say that my kids are free-range kids. Being outside so much makes them happy and healthy.
These days, so many kids spend less and less time outdoors, and use less of their imaginations to make up games and play. A study done by the Outdoor Foundation showed that outdoor activity among children ages 6 to 17 is declining, with the sharpest fall taking place among 6- to 12-year-olds. Kids nowadays like to spend more time indoors where there are electronic devices. I firmly believe that kids who spend a great amount of time outdoors become very good at using their own imaginations, inventiveness and creativity while playing.
I think that more parents are scared of all the dangers of the outside world these days, and some just don’t like their kids getting cold, wet or dirty. But this is just a part of being a kid. My three children goes to a Waldorf School where the kids are outdoors a lot spending time in nature is an important part of the activities. Besides playing and they also take nature walks I can honestly say I don’t think my kids of their friends are sicker than any other kids.
I’ve heard that kids who are raised on or around a farm are mostly healthier than kids who are not because these kids are exposed to germs, animals, dirt and all those things that might have modern day parents grinding their teeth. What a lot of people don’t know is that all these things are actually good for kids, not the other way around. Being exposed to dirt, bugs, animals and plants strengthens one’s immune system.
Just try it. Let your kids run free outside and let their imaginations play and watch what happens.