we never called it ‘unstructured’

We just went outside. It never occurred to me to sit inside for hours at a time playing video games on pretty sunny days.

And, with a paleo-Nintendo robot named R.O.B.* staring down from a display case on my wall, I can assure you I was an early convert to the Blinky Lights. But it was nowhere as cool as building forts, climbing trees and mooching the trampoline at one of the usually vacant lakehouses nearby.

But I know the temptation of letting Veggie Tales, Walt Disney and the Baby Einstein Corporation occupy my one- and almost-four-year olds. And I can’t just send mine out to play and keep doing stuff inside; getting them outside requires a greater commitment, often pushing aside more pressing needs indoors (like smelly sink-fuls of dishes).

But to me, it’s worth it.

I’m glad that I’m not alone.
Althouse: The revival of “traditional play” for children.
“I agree with the people who say that the kids need to have their own motivation. But parents can at least insist that the kids go outside the way parents did years ago. And dont think we didn’t complain about it. We all said “Theres nothing to do outside.” But the idea that we were supposed to go outside had some effect. Nowadays, I think parents accept indoor activities better for some reason. Maybe they like knowing where the kids and that nothing will physically hurt them… nothing sudden, at least… probably.”

Fear is a definite reason kids aren’t pushed outside the way we were, but I think laziness has more to do with it. And not the laziness of the lightning-thumbed lardasses that are the face of the Obesity Epidemic. It’s laziness by the parents, who’d rather see how McCoy puts away his fourth defendent (just this afternoon), or how the epithelials and the dung beetle helped Grissom bag the murderer rapist.

* R.O.B. was a Robotic Operating Buddy distributed with the NES before Super Mario. It (poorly) controlled part of the gameplay of the game “Gyromite.” Lame game, but neato artifact with which to wow my nerdy friends. Oh, and to piss of the wife.

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