Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Old-School Playtime

I grew up in Florida. I remember visiting my Grandpa's house, he lived in a mobile home park. My cousins and I would run out in the woods and build forts out of anything and everything we could find out there.

The other day I was thinking my kids have never really known the kind of freedom we had back then.  Not only do we live in a different world today but living in Alaska creates even more outdoor freedom challenges. There are always moose, bear and other wildlife concerns. Seriously.  Last year we had 5 bears, yes I said 5 in our yard with in a half-hour. Fortunately it was late, after the kids were in for the night so we had no actual child-scare, but it was still frightening. And truthfully, we had a DLP that night with Scott being charged so when I speak of them, I assure you the risks are real.

 Back to forts. While we don't get to just let them wander for hours on end like I grew up doing there are ways to incorporate some creativity and freedom into their exploring.  They get to do it at school.
How awesome is that? Too Cool for School if you ask me!

I was invited to take pictures. The 6th grade went out to a trail behind the school and the teacher let them loose. My only instruction was to leave them be and let them have fun.  They built caves in snow, under trees, out of trees.  It was so wonderful and seemed so old-school to me.

I heard kids laughing, making furniture for their forts and decorating. Their communication was often unspoken. Some kids turned into little worker bees, you could sense there were kids destined to work with their hands. There were some who felt the need to direct. And some who just loved exploring, noticing things around them and creating something from it. Even the kids who are typically quiet and more withdrawn were inviting me to take a walk-through.

 Lest you be worried they aren't learning, this was all tied into a component on Explorers. There was a lesson here on the best options for building shelter. And at the end of two days of building all the kids shared what they learned and experienced. It was good ole' fashioned fun and imagine this, wait for it...hands on education!

This is my favorite picture from the day. It looks like my mind's eye view of my childhood. Doesn't it just make you wish you could build a fort? Me too, I'm off!


Lisa said...

5 bears, oh my goodness! Yep, in Ohio we don't really have to worry about wildlife. We do have some coyotes around here which people worry will pick up Araina and carry away since she is so small. I don't think that's possible though. A bear, however, I'm also assuming you mean grizzly bear....and I've heard that a moose isn't exactly a friendly type of animal.

What a wonderful day this was! Great pics and great forts.

Grace said...

This looks like so much fun. Wonderful photos.

softearthart said...

Great photos, all daily life is about learning, one does not need to justify play as a learning experience, play is work and learning for children, more play, less work I say. love and light Marie