Playing out: My perspective from child to teen

A guest post by Joshua Heinrich.

As a child I loved playing outside, I loved exploring, learning and getting dirty, this has continued throughout my adult life due to my passion for geography, which is very much a field based discipline. I loved all forms of outdoor games, from building dens to playing hide and seek, although I particularly enjoyed playing family garden games as they brought our family closer together.

130820 - 2As a child we were lucky enough to have  a rather large garden with a small wooded area towards the back, this is where me and my brother could really get to grips with nature by climbing trees, starting fires (we shouldn’t have been doing this) and watching/finding wildlife. We did annoy our neighbours at times, particularly when we were playing in the wooded area as this overlooked their gardens, but we soon learnt what was acceptable and what was not.

The time came when we were allowed to play on the streets, a whole new world was literally at my doorstep, the feeling was incredible. Obviously we had boundary limits but these were often broken as my quest to explore often got the better of me.

Playing in my neighbourhood allowed me to meet new friends from different age groups and schools, but also helped me to develop further as an individual. As there was no local parks nearby the only place we could play was on the streets, many people blame this on the lack of areas for young people to go, but would this solve the problem or worsen things?

We then went onto move to the village where I went to primary school and this is where I spent the majority of time playing outside as a child. This area really was great, we had a local park, fields, rivers and woodland all within close proximity. Although there was one street in particular that we always seemed to play on, mainly because a few of our friends lived there but we did get the odd look off some of the neighbours but nothing was ever said to us.

130820 - 1As teens, ‘playing’ became uncool and was now known as ‘hanging out’ or ‘lecking out’ (Yorkshire dialect for play). I spent much more time walking and sitting with my friends, talking but we never caused any nuisance to others. As we were often in large groups it would often give passers by the wrong impression, but as teens there was nothing else to do.

No matter what there age, kids love to play. Playing inside is fine but playing outside can be a valuable learning experience for all.

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