60 answers

What Happened to "Sending Your Kids Outside to Play"-- Vent

I am wondering if I am the ONLY mom-to-be or mom that believes in sending kids outside to play. I mean, I grew up going outside for entertainment, and playing in the fenced in backyard on our swingset. Now, kids are so consumed by t.v, video games, and other things.

I just dont' understand why parents are not sending their kids outside to play anymore. I have a fenced in yard and plan to send my kids outside when they are old enough.

I am a nanny for 6 and 7 year old boys whom don't know what to do with themselves when I send them into the back yard to play. It's like they don't know how to go play on their play structure or kick a ball around or anything.

Can someone shed some light on this?

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I am not talking btw of sending them outside unsupervised or out of my site playing on their own. I am talking, doing dishes while they play in the fenced in back yard, which is viewable from the kitchen. They just went out there were completely clueless...

Jessica--no offense, but I spend nearly 45 hours a week with them, and more in the summer. I just was asking a general question, using my nanny kids as an example. I just wanted to see other people's perspectives on the topic. I am not being judgemental of them, I am being honest, as I do see alot of what happens with this family. I have been with them almost 7.5 years. Good grief!

Featured Answers

I sent mine out to play all the time. They would sometimes think it was punishment, but it wouldnt take long before they were playing, digging, climbing or something..... then they didnt want to come back in,. lol. Silly rabbits.

5 moms found this helpful

My kids go out and play all of the time :) If they are cooped up inside they get on each others nerves...and mom's....lol!

4 moms found this helpful

How about this: A lot of parents do have their kids play outside, you're just not around those kids. And you're being awfully judgmental about the parents and children that you nanny for. It's very easy to judge other people before you're a parent in their position.

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Ok, see... how many posts have you seen on mamapedia in the past few weeks absolutely bitching about neighbor kids? "I don't want the neighbor kid in my yard!" "I don't want to watch the neighbor kid!" "The neighbor kid is annoying!"

When I was a child, ALL of the neighbor kids were outside playing, not just me. Collectively, the parents would keep an eye on all of the kids.

We can't have it both ways.

You're lucky enough to have a fenced-in backyard to send the boys out but not everybody does. And it's not safe if you don't. Further, what made it fun when I was a kid was playing with the neighbor kids. That's why Mom had to scream at me to MAKE me come in the house when it got dark! We had a neighborhood full of friends!

With the mentality I'm seeing even from Moms right here on mamapedia, no wonder we can't send our kids out. Everybody is sensitive about everything, nobody is willing to be a part of a community any more, it's all about me, me, me, and MY privacy.

I have taken my children outside to play. They know how to scooter, ride their bikes without training wheels, and roller skate. We trace each other with sidewalk chalk. But there are NO other kids outside playing, just us.

Just my two cents.

8 moms found this helpful

I believe there is a lot of over-parenting and too much emphasis placed upon the 'constant parental engagement' of your child. Many women are told that they need to be constantly interacting with their baby, their toddler, their preschooler and the kid becomes dependent on mom to entertain them. The kids never learn to self-entertain because mommy is still attached to the kid. Also, many parents get caught up in the concept of mommy and me classes. Not that they're bad; they can actually be good, but every once in a while mommy does not need to participate in the class (age appropriate of course). Everything is so structured - Little Gym class at this time, followed by the library reading group, followed by the neighborhood playdate, etc. I think having a routine is good because kids often take comfort in knowing what to expect but flexibility is also important and other activities, including self-entertainment, should be explored.

We have a fenced in backyard and when my kids are old enough, I too will be sending them to the yard to play. Now, I will likely be sitting in a chair under a shade tree supervising them but at least they'll be able to self-select activities and run wild.

7 moms found this helpful

Honest answer? Some people are just lazy. Sorry, I know that this isn't going to go over well, but it's easier to pop in a DVD and get things done around the house than it is to go outside and supervise or take their children to a safe outdoor place space.

We have a 3 yr old, so he really can't be outside by himself, but we are outside with him every day (sunshine, snow, light rain, whatever) letting him run around and play. Given his choice, he would be outside digging in the dirt. We both work full time and dinner still gets on the table every night, the bills get paid and all the other "stuff" that needs to get done. TV is reserved for just before bedtime and (in all honesty) if I HAVE to get something done quickly.

It kind of scares me how locked-in my preschooler will become when the t.v. is on. Our neighbors all send their kids outside to play and they all play together- regardless of age. My little guy LOVES playing "ball" with the big boys and they are wonderful to him-

It's not all parents, just some.

6 moms found this helpful

Did you ever see The Sandlot?
The mom says to her son "Go outside, climb trees, jump fences...get in TROUBLE!"
When I was a kid, we were outside all day, everyday til dark, coming home only for lunch & dinner.
Granted I grew up in a pretty rural area with about 8 other kids within a mile but we were ALL over the neighborhood, in each other's yards, walking to the little store, etc.
It IS a different time now (although I suspect weirdos surely existed then, but we just didn't HEAR about pedophiles, kidnappers, etc. everyday then) but now we have moms posting things like "my neighbors kids keep coming over" or "how can I keep other kids OFF of our swing set"! It's crazy!

6 moms found this helpful

I sent mine out to play all the time. They would sometimes think it was punishment, but it wouldnt take long before they were playing, digging, climbing or something..... then they didnt want to come back in,. lol. Silly rabbits.

5 moms found this helpful

Girl bye!!!!!!! I can't stand these lazy kids today! my son is 5 and he must have been in the womb knowing that tv all day was not an option, he loves to go outside, rain,snow,sleet he does not care. but all this playstation, Wii, xbox all day is not an option for me PERIOD!!! these little bums now days think they will melt if they go outside, God forbid if they go outside and ride a bike or get an old fridge box and go to town with imagination! i used to go hunting for big stove or tv boxes so i could bring them home and play in them for hours. these kids now days are just what i said lazy bums! and their parents are allowing!!!! i purposely don't buy those video games so they can't miss what they don't have. even the older kids in my house have to get out! they have the game systems at their moms house( my boyfriends kids) i may get one later one but not right now! i am in full agreement with you! lol i used to bring my record player outside with me too and play disco/dance club!!! i miss those days!

5 moms found this helpful

My kids go out and play all of the time :) If they are cooped up inside they get on each others nerves...and mom's....lol!

4 moms found this helpful

I don't believe tv and video games are the cause. *I* had tv and video games and managed to spend plenty of fun time outdoors.

I do believe general society has adopted a strange idea that children need to be constantly entertained and scheduled, whether that be by tv, video games, family game night, year round activity enrollment, busywork homework, or portable computer apps, leaving fewer kids with the ability to figure out how to entertain THEMSELVES when they do have a few minutes of freedom.

4 moms found this helpful

Interesting, in my neighborhood when schools out, you can barely drive down the street there are so many kids out on bikes, scooters, skateboards, playing basketball, catch, frisbee, and not a parent in sight!

My kids are older now, but when they were little, my middle son was the only one who'd be happy to putter around outside alone, push a Tonka truck around in the dirt for any length of time. The other two wanted more interaction with me. They'd stay out for a few by themselves, but they'd stay out all day if I were out with them. And we had plenty of thing for them to do in the back yard too.

So maybe your two charges just want you to be out there with them. Some kids need that.

:)

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Sometimes you must lead by example. If you want them to play ball - play it with them a few times. You want them to play tag and use their playground... go with them.

You cannot expect to set out any animal (including humans) and have an immature version of the species to just "DO" something. Most behavior is LEARNED.

4 moms found this helpful

I not only send my 7 & 9 yo's outside to play in the backyard, I let them play out front too! Gasp, I know, I'm one of those awful inattentive moms, lol. We live on a relatively quiet street in a relatively quiet neighborhood. I will let both kids play outside in front of the house while I'm inside periodically checking on them. I will let the 9 yo roam a couple streets over to friends houses as long as he has the 'family' cell phone with him; the 7 yo isn't mature enough for that yet. Whining "I'm bored" in my house is an automatic sentence to the backyard to play - yesterday the kids got out chalk and colored their wooden playset to look like a store, they were so excited about it and it was completely their idea!
I believe that if I give my kids the freedom and opportunities to make their own decisions and choices (age appropriate, safely, of course) they will learn how to make good decisions. This doesn't mean I let them run wild from dusk till dawn, it means as they show the ability to handle more responsibility I give them more responsibility. There is a website called freerangekids that supports this philosophy, you should check it out.

3 moms found this helpful

How about this: A lot of parents do have their kids play outside, you're just not around those kids. And you're being awfully judgmental about the parents and children that you nanny for. It's very easy to judge other people before you're a parent in their position.

3 moms found this helpful

When I was a kid there were basically 5 stations to pick from. There was hardly ever anything good on tv...and video games were not nearly as popular as they are now and of course no computer. What else was there to do?? I hate to say it but I think if my brothers and sisters had that much to do inside we probably would have been outside much less. It is easy to look back with rose coloerd glasses on my childhood but when I really think about it more often than not we were all sitting around outside complaining about how bored we were.

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Yeah, I definitely think the boys you nanny are not the norm. My kids LOVE going outdoors and beg everyday when its warm. We have a gated backyard so I allow them to go alone quite often, but still do go out with them quite often too. My nieces & nephews love going outdoors too, actually its been a long time since I came across kids that don't enjoy going out.

I also believe many parents don't send them out because they are afraid to send them alone and don't want to go with them. My girls are 5 and 3 and I think are still quite young to be out alone all the time, but they have strict rules not to leave the gate. From inside our house, I am able to hear the gate open, its metal so it clangs. I have told them if they ever disobey they can't go out alone, and they love going out so I haven't caught them yet, disobeying.

3 moms found this helpful

I have a different gripe! I send my kids out to play (ages 4 and 7), and they won't go without me!!!! We have a huge yard in the country with lots of fun things to do, and they want me to entertain them every minute! We are working out a compromise! :)

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The problem is, there are no other kids outside. So you can't send them outside to be alone. Plus, it's no fun for them if there's no one else there.

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I do it all the time. Either that or i am playing with them.

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LOL, I DO!! As soon as they get home from school, I tell them to drop their backpacks and GET OUT!! Then I make dinner and lunches for the next day. They come in, do their homework and have dinner, and BACK OUTSIDE!! They come in about 40 minutes before bedtime, shower, read, then go to bed :)

3 moms found this helpful

I send my kids outside every day.

Many parents don't send them out - because they are afraid their kids will be kidnapped or worse and don't want to take the time away from what THEY are doing to focus on their kids.

My kids go to the park by themselves. My eldest son takes his cell phone and they are NEVER to separate...I tell them STRENGTH IN NUMBERS...any way - my kids ride bikes, scooters, etc. and I shove them outside as much as possible!!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! Many parents are just too lazy to stop what they are doing to let the kids go outside and play - it's easier to let them play video games or let the TV raise them instead of being a parent.

3 moms found this helpful

My kids live outdoors,they wake up get dressed they are outside.I have a fenced in back yard all the entrances are locked,my windows through the house are all visible plus I open all the windows to see them i'm usually out there with them but when dishes,dinner on plates,folding laundry have to get done I do let them play they are literally on the back patio while i'm in the sunroom (laundry room) or in the kitchen which is a step up from the laundry room/playroom.I can see & hear them at all times.They are in & out like flies so they are not unsupervised.TV & video games,computer have all consumed the childrens minds they have no idea what pretend play is when that is all they are able to do.

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I'm with you! We had NO video games at all and our son survived just fine. He developed creativity, adventurism, confidence and great social skills.

Do those boys a favor and kick a ball to them, throw a frisbee, hunt for frogs & salamanders, build an ant farm, dig worms, play tag, and more.

We have a new generation of kids with no physical development except the thumbs they need to text and play video games. It's turning into a nightmare in college and employment as they cannot function, cannot think critically, and cannot enjoy any downtime.

2 moms found this helpful

We were going outside almost all day but with the tree pollen being as high as it is we have to stay indoors in the afternoon because my oldest cannot breath. We have a fenced in yard and generally I'll send my kids out back and I open the windows so I can hear them and the dogs. I can't believe how many people don't send their kids outside.

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I think that so many parents direct their kids play that sometimes kids don't know how to play without "stuff" and without someone else telling them what to do. My favorite backyard memory was "playing house" in my neighbor's back yard. We lived there for 2 short years when I was in 3rd and 4th grade, and the neighbor lady had 12 kids (dear Lord). The back yard had been played on so hard that there was no grass, and the kids somehow got ahold of cinder blocks to build their "house" with. We had those kind of trees that had the "whilry bird" seeds, and we made mud and seed pie or soup with them with old pots and spoons. We had a great time. I didn't know how poor that family was at the time - the kids were sweet and I enjoyed them. My mom was so good to them too, though the father disliked my mom because she was going to school (he didn't believe women should work out of the home.)

The kids really didn't have any structure or anyone watching them, (mom was far too busy with the next baby being born), and they did poorly in school, but they did know how to play. Perhaps because she didn't buy any toys for them and they never watched TV, it helped.

D.

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Nope, my guys get sent out to play in the backyard regularly. I might even lock the door behind them occasionally, but I won't admit to it.

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My kids are always outside playing. They have a wii and Ds and those things but only use them maybe once a week or if the weather is bad. They only watch tv at night if they have time. My nephew goes out to play alot too so I guess its just parenting style and what the parents are encouraging them to do with their time.

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We've become so unecessarily over-protective! I grew up on a farm with three siblings. We were outside a lot. There was no fenced yard, we got into whatever trouble we could find in the yard, the grove, the barn, the machinery. We all survived, just a few scars. Yes, the kids might come in with a skinned knee, a sliver, or a cut once in a while. Those things also heal.

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If I had a safe place to send them to go play outside, I would! I remember when I was a kid, I was outside any chance I could. We live in a town home, so no place to go play outside safely with out me being there.

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IMHO:

- Dual income families (no SAHP) = school > daycare > dinner/family time > bed = when does one send them outside to play?

- Huge percentage of families living in apartment buildings where it's unsafe to send them out OR unpractical

Personally... we spend between 4 & 10 hours outside every day. But we not only have a SAHP, we also homeschool... so we can.

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NO way does my kid go outside to play unless I'm watching. There are a lot of bad people in this world who will take advantage of a child left alone. Now I do go sit outside and watch her ride her bike up and down the block with her friends. I even watch her walk accross the street and make sure she gets in her friends house. Some say the odds are nothing will happen it only happens to some kids. Well I'm not williing to gamble with my daughters safety.

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My stepsons lived with their mom growing up (we had them every other weekend) and they were in an apartment that was on a busy main street with a "yard" that was the size of a postage stamp and no fence - so there was no way she was sending them out there alone. We were in the same situation until we bought our first house with a huge yard at the end of a dead end street and nothing but woods around. So it was as safe for playing outside alone as you could get, and the boys were really excited about it. But by that time they were 9 and 10, and didn't seem to know what to do when they were actually outside on their own. We had a basketball hoop, they had all kinds of outdoor toys and stuff, but when actually told to go play outside, they complained about being bored, kept wanting to come in, etc. They would whine about it being too cold, too hot, it's starting to rain (when maybe they felt one tiny drop), they're tired, etc. I think if there were actually some other neighborhood kids around for them to play with, it would have been easier. But it made me think that perhaps it is something they have to learn at an early age and if they don't, they may never figure it out. Our daughter is only 3 and our yard is not fenced, so I can't send her out unsupervised yet, but when she is older I will definitely encourage it - it's a relatively safe neighborhood with several other kids the same age, so I would hope when they are old enough they can all play outside with each other and not need us there every single minute. DD wants to play outside all the time, from the moment she gets up she's bugging me about it - she always wants to eat outside too and even sometimes doesn't want to come in at night so she asks if we can camp in the back yard! There are some older kids down the street that I see playing outside by themselves all the time - my husband tends to be critical of the parents for not being out there watching them but to me it's what kids are supposed to be doing these days if they are able. It seems that parents these days, in general, are way overprotective compared to generations past and the way many of us grew up (DH tends to be part over-protective, but he also can be lazy about it, and tries to get DD to just sit and watch TV more than I like so it's not as much work on his part - I tend to get her out more). It's like you are a bad parent if you are not watching your child, protecting them, and having them in some structured supervised activity every second of the day. Some changes are positive (like bike helmets being a requirement in many states) but at the same time, something along the way has been lost, and I get the feeling that some of us parents today want to get that something back for their kids.

2 moms found this helpful

B., I agree with you. Kids need outside time, and not just 30 minutes a day. There is no way I can be sitting outside for hours each day to watch their every move. We live in a safe area, in a culdesac, and I am fine with my kids riding their bikes around our culdesac and playing with their friends out in the yards. I teach my kids safety rules and I make them check in with me every so often.

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I think it depends alot on the neighborhood and if there's safe room to roam and if there are other kids to play with. My street has only 12 houses - we all know eachother and there are 8 kids within a 5 yr age span, there's a big circle and when the kids were young (age 3 - 6ish) we moms would supervise them playing in the front years and street. We live in a hilly area so the kids would be running up and down the hills, riding their bikes & scooters in the circle, playing kickball, etc. Now that they'll all between 11 - 16 they're usually out there shooting hoops, playing wiffle ball (so they don't break any windows or dent any cars) and in the winter touch football. The girls have all kind of backed out so there's only the 4 boys - but they bring their friends, and use their cell phones to collect nearby guys to join them.

All that being said, if it's a day when a few of them have a game, or other obligation and they're not around then no one goes out there just to shoot hoops by themself. It's just not fun to hang out by yourself...

2 moms found this helpful

I spent every second I could outside up until I was about 13 years old & by then I was playing sports anyway. I definitely throw my kids outside on a very regular basis. If it's just the 2 of them they act like I'm torturing them, but if other kids from the neighborhood are around then they'll stay out for hours.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm with you, and I send my son out to play anytime the weather permits. He is 3 1/2. I check on him every few minutes, but he loves to go out on his own. We have a swingset for him to play on and plenty of balls and things, but more often than not he is just playing in the mud or collecting pine cones or something. We could have saved a lot of money and just gotten him a sack of dirt :)

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Many parents are scarred! We live in the country and have a fenced in back yard, so it's easy for me. But many are afraid of something happening when they are not their to supervise.

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We have no video games and watch very limited TV. We have tons of toys for "imaginative play." We also have a fenced in yard and I send my kids out to play. Sometimes they like to go out and play and sometimes they don't. My 6 year old is much more willing to trot off outside or to play in her room if she has a friend over. She just doesn't like to be alone, and she doesn't always want to play with her brother. It's nothing we've "done" it's just her personality. Most of the time she'd rather sit at the kitchen table and color.

I think that playing outside independently is something that you can encourage (and I think it's a good thing to encourage) but sometimes our children surprise us. It seems as though your children are not old enough to be sent out to play without you. I hope that you can get them to enjoy that kind of free play when they are older. But please be careful about judging other people's parenting based on the slim cross-section of behavior you see from from their children.

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Will add this: sometimes if the yard is too "pristine" (manicured lawn with flower beds and NO just plain dirt) the kids don't know what to do without being shown an organized "game". My kids can entertain themselves for HOURS with the part of the yard that has no grass... they dig holes, they draw in the dirt, they climb trees, they pull leaves off of weeds, the fill empty water bottles and spray water all over whatever or fill the dirt holes with it to make a mud pit, etc. But the lawn part.... they ignore.

Do they have a sandbox by any chance?

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I live in the country with a very large yard. Its not fenced in, but sits far from the road. When I started sending my daughter out she was about 4 1/2. She has a very nice swing set out there and plays nicely by herself. I never taught her to use her imagination, and frankly, never thought you had to teach children that. The problem is nowadays, everyone schedules their childrens play time and activities. They start them at babies constantly entertaining their kids with games and activities as opposed to just sitting them and letting them play. I am a full time working mom (although I brought her to work with me) so I never really had the time to sit and do activites with her. So she learned how to entertain herself. She is now 6 and is still very good at playing alone and entertaining herself, whether it be indoors or out. I think parents need to step back a bit and say its ok not to have a planned activity every hour of the day...its ruining their ability to have an imagination.

1 mom found this helpful

I think I'm one of few Moms that thinks letting your kids play the Facebook game "Farmville" is ridiculous when they could actually be growing their own garden which would not only get them outside but also teach them some valuable lessons and it's just fun =)

1 mom found this helpful

My son LOVES to play outside, and would be outside all day if I let him. Problem is that we do not have a fenced in yard, so I do have to keep a pretty good eye on him, although at 5, I have found that this year, I have been able to set yard parameters for him, and he understands to stay within them (i.e. don't go beyond the house, or beyond the garden.) Every few minutes or so, I'll talk to him out the window, just to keep track. Then every so often, maybe 15 minutes?, I'll go out to actually see what he's doing if I can't see him from the window.

We only have 2 neighbors, neither with kids. But we live on a big piece of property with the only road being that in front of the house. Lots of yard, and 2 neighbors (that we know well) and woods behind them. So it is relatively safe to allow him to play out in our yard, without fear he'll wander into the street or be approached by a stranger or anything like that. But still, it's hard to adjust to letting him be on his own.

I try to remember the days of playing outside, unsupervised, all day, going back and forth from my friends house on the street above ours. I try to give my son some sense of freedom and autonomy to play outside without me hovering over him, or without him 'needing' me to be out there to entertain him. But it's a struggle because I am still in the very early stages of 'letting go'... It's a process.

My son, on the other hand, loves it. He has his balls, shovels and rakes, his sandbox, chalk, bubbles, his John Deere power wheels mower that he rides all over the place, we have places for him to dig in the yard, etc., and he'll spend lots of time just entertaining himself. I wish he had someone to play with, though. I think that would add a whole dimension to being outdoors for him... he probably wouldn't need as much 'stuff' to keep himslef busy then, but at least he can be outside and knows how to entertain himself, and he loves it.

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our rule is: no electronics before taking a walk/bike ride/etc. It worked very well last summer & I have continued it since then.

Oh, & 1/2way thru the day, that rule is repeated..... My victory dance is when the game system is NOT turned on!

With the 2 boys, do they have neighbors to play with? If not, find a park/play group where they can interact with other kids. They'll learn "playing" skills soon enough! Until then, spark their imaginations with pirate hats, sailor hats, etc.....all things which you can make as a fun project. Sounds like they need help with role-playing & pretend play.....Legos also help with this!

1 mom found this helpful

I send them outside all the time! I can see out the windows and my husband is in the garage a lot or working in the yard... I can hear them and see them... Why not send em out?

FYI- My daughter will be 8 next month and my son will be 3 in July.

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Well not all kids liked it. I don't think it's safe even if you can view them. You wouldn't be able to get to them in time if someone wanted to snatch them. You get busy, answer the phone, anything can happen. But that's just me. I'm careful.

But back to the not all kids liked it. I HATED being banished to the outside. I hated my elders when they did that to me. I just wanted to be inside reading a book. I love tv, but not all the time.

If you want them to learn how to play games then play with them. Kids don't want to be by themselves. Kids want YOUR attention. Swings are boring. If you want them to have things to do then make sure they have something to do like setting up a crocket set or a vollyball net.

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I guess it depends on where you live. Here all the kids in the neighborhood are out most afternoons playing together. I love it! Our son is out there riding his bike/scooter most days. He and the older boys make little ramps and like to practice their tricks. There is a basketball hoop that all the kids share. Some kids come over here and jump on our trampoline at times. Sometimes we get a herd of kids hanging out in the house for a bit - they love to play with my daughter who is little. I have gotten to know all these kids very well and I know all the parents. It's a very nice neighborhood. In the summer it's hard to get our son to come inside at times. I have seen the other posts of moms who are annoyed by the neighbor kids. I think that is sad - I love it that I know all the neighbor kids and I love that they all play well together even though it is such a wide range of ages. Two of the older kids sometimes babysit or petsit for us. I think what some people said about playing outside being a learned behavior might be right. We have always played outside with our son since he was tiny. Now that he is 7 I sometimes go out with him and sometimes not since he is old enough to play out there without me. We like to kick the soccer ball back and forth with each other. We plan hikes together and go do them once a week in the summer. We hit a tennis ball back and forth or throw the frisbee together. We also do family bike rides on the weekends. We have a "trail-a-bike" so we can do longer bike rides than if he were on his bike alone. Maybe in some families the adults don't get out and "play" outside much and their children are just following their example. If you lived in a dangerous neighborhood or on a very busy street then I can see how you don't send your kids out to play. We are lucky we live in a safe place.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree. We live on a cul-d-sac and our kids play out there when weather allows. In the summer, we are in the pool every day. Although we have tv (the kids DO NOT have their own in their rooms) and a wii, there is a balance between tv, wii and outside. It gets extremely hot here in the summer so we can't be outside all day. So I believe everything in moderation. I know some kids when sent outside to play just can't imagine what to do! I just don't get it! Our kids all have bikes, scooters, skateboards, balls, etc. But even then sometimes my 8 yo son says he's bored. So I guess its a sign of the times but I feel good that my own kids are getting a good mixture of inside and outside play.

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Times have changed. We, collectively, probably spent every day outside. I did. My parents also let me ride my bike across town when I was 10, go trick or treating by myself, and we didn't wear seat belts.

I think part of it is to do with parents being overprotective...sometimes, with good reason. I think people take it too far, but yes, I see that the world is an ever increasingly dangerous place.

And part to do with laziness on the parents part. If you didn't go outside when your child was 1, 2, and 3 to teach them about play, how will they do it at 4, 5, 6, and on? It's sad, really.

So, all that being said...yes, my 6 year old goes out to play. She BEGS to go...and if she can't, for some reason, she's not very happy about it. Sure, she likes to play inside, too...but given the choice? It's always outside. Maybe it's because we live in MN and our outside window of play is short.

1 mom found this helpful

A fenced yard helps a lot also a long drive way that can be blocked and sidewalks..

Our daughter went to daycare the first 5 years of her life and they spent at least 1 hour in the morning outside and again in the afternoon. Many times it was a lot longer.

When she came home we all spent a lot of time outside with our neighbors and their kids.. We found if we pulled out some chairs and brought out some cold drinks.. others would come and join us. We would wave and invite others over.. We would block off our driveway and our daughter would have all of her riding toys out, sidewalk chalk..

If no one was home our daughter loved playing in the backyard. I would let her play with the water hose. She had a playhouse a "Twizzler", an "Air Pogo" a swing.. She had a grocery cart, she would fill with toys..

1 mom found this helpful

Playing outside is still alive and well in our neighborhood. Once the warm weather hits it is hard to get the kids (all different ages that play together) to come in to eat or sleep. Even in the snowy weather they are out alot. It is so interesting to see the games they come up with. I love it!

I can't shed light, but I send my 7 year old girl outside all the time. And, shame on me, I send her two doors down to knock on her friends door to see if she wants to come out and ride bikes or something. All without arranging a formal play date!! Gasp!!

I totally send my son out to play in the backyard and he is three, been doing that since he was about 2.5. He goes out, makes mud, plays with toys, sticks etc, draws with sidewalk chalk, you name it. I don't think he or I could function with him indoors all day!! I can see him out the window and our yard is fenced and gated. I personally love that he can have some time without my eyes right on him to explore and develop his imagination and creativity. My pediatrician said that the fact my soon to be four year old is clueless how to work a mouse or a joystick was absolutely awesome! I do let him watch TV of course I am actually not really strict about it either, he just loves to be outside. As soon as his brother is big enough, he'll be right there with him!! Kids, sunshine, sticks, toys and mud, what could be better??

There are two other families with school-aged children on our block and we are the ones outside the most. One of the families only comes out when the dad comes home at the end of the work day while mom continues to stay inside. The other has numerous scheduled activities at the very least 1x day per child 6x a week on top of school.

Here are some of the excuses I've heard as to why they won't join us:
They just had a bath and I don't want them to get dirty.
We need to go read.
My wife will get mad if we're not home.
Need to study (these are second graders, how much studying is there??)
Too hot/cold/wet/windy.
I don't want them in the sun.
There are too many bugs.
The lawn was just sprayed.

It goes on, and really? They are just excuses in the end. My neighbor has a $2000 playset that is only played on a couple times a year and you're right...when these neighbors come over to play, they rarely know what to do or they whine to come inside.

Kids really need to be taught everything. Just like you have to teach at least your first kid how to play imagination games, they need to be taught what to do outside. If they're parents aren't 'outdoors' people, they just might not have a clue. Maybe you could teach them how to play catch, hide and seek outside, and other running/hiding games. Or maybe a list of possibilities would help them.

My kids (5, 3, 9 months) are always outside. I think part of the problem is that mom or dad has to accompany them--so it's just easier for them to play inside. I love being outside, luckily, because my kiddos are not at the age to play outside (even with a fenced in yard) by themselves.

I don't know.
My kids go outside to play.
All the time.
But we have a yard. Fenced in. It is safe.
I can see them from our windows.
My kids are very physical and active.

Many people nowadays, maybe they don't have yards????
Or live in apartments or townhouses etc.
Or live in unsafe areas.

Nope, my kids are all expected to go outside to play when it is warm enough (even my 9 month old). We spend almost all day every weekend outside playing. We live in a very kid friendly neighborhood so all the kids play together and just run around the block together. My husband and I are almost always outside mowing, planting, weeding, etc... so we can keep an eye on them all. Our rules are can't go past the stop signs and you can't go in the alley otherwise they have like 10 houses and backyard up for grabs to play in.

If those kids don't know how to play by use of imagination then take time to teach them. You ARE the nanny. :)

My grandsons are out all the time. They are young so I have to sit out there
with them but they only want to be outside! I have to drag them in when
it is time for Mom to come home. Kids need to be out.

I can't let my kids play in what passes for our backyard. It's useless. They can only play out front. It is not safe to let them play outside without someone watching them. We do let them go play as much as we can and there are several houses immediately near us with kids all in the same age range so they all come out and ride their scooters or whatever. I wish we were in a better situation where I could send them out without having to hover around outside with them but, alas, not where we live. I can't get anything done if I have to sit outside with them all the time. Sometimes my mom will come over and sit outside while they play and I'll use that time to get things done. We're hoping our next house has a better outside environment.
My kids have no problem coming up with a million and one things to do when they're outside playing.
I do have to say that it's often that the kids come over asking if my kids can play and they have to say no. We homeschool and my husband works from home and we don't run any of our errands until after school/work hours. Most moms on the street get those things done while the kids are at school and their husband is at work or on their way home from work. Doesn't work here. And when the kids are grounded we will sometime fib the reason instead of telling the neighbors they're grounded (again o_O) so we may come off sounding like we have all the trivial reasons to not let them out.

My girls are 4.5 and 3 and LOVE being outside. Our backyard is semi-fenced so I'm not comfortable them being out there alone yet - because of bears and other wildlife though, not people as I live in a very safe neighbourhood. I do leave them alone for a few minutes to go and make lunch or start dinner, but I can see them from the kitchen window.

I can't wait till they're old enough to be out there for a while on their own so I can get more stuff done around the house!

I cant keep my grand daughter INSIDE. She wants to go out in the backyard all the time, rain or shine. We had a thunder storm yesterday and she was rolling on the deck to see if she could "be a worm" as she said. She likes to dig in the dirt at the edge of the grass, She takes her dinosaurs out and makes them play in the grass like its a jungle. She collects rocks, sticks and leaves. She takes her princess purse out and fills it with dandilions. She tries to catch bugs in cups. She throws a fit if I make her come in to eat. I am not an outdoor person but I would go sit on the deck and read or write a grocery list, or whatever, and keep an eye on her when she was younger but now that shes nearly 4, I just leave the patio door open and she comes and goes. She loves outdoors and when we do make her come in, she loves playing wild and rough too. Shes not one of the lazy ones who just sit and play video games and watch tv all day. Sometimes I almost wish she was. (o:

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