Outdoors for the Summer

After supper tonight I took a  short ride to the beach to watch the sunset.   It was absolutely beautiful.  I was on the road to East Chop Lighthouse and decided to stop at the little beach.  As I sat there watching the sun sink  toward the horizon I could smell lilacs.   I was in heaven.  I started thinking about when I was a child, about 10 years old, looking forward to summer vacation and the endless possibilities that it held for me.

East Chop

When I was 10 I lived in Cumberland RI, a small town without a Main Street and full of cow pastures.  I looked forward to summer like every child does.  I looked forward to getting up in the morning, having breakfast and then going outside to face the day.  I spent the whole day outdoors.  My best friend, Nancy, and I loved to explore.  We loved walking through  cow fields, walking through the  woods and just having a great day. 

Sometimes we played with our Barbie dolls on a blanket on  the side lawn of Nancy’s house.   We truly enjoyed our summer vacation.  We hated rainy days being stuck indoors,  though we managed to have a good time playing board games like Monopoly.

Finally I grew up and had children of my own who also spent the majority of their time outdoors.  They would wake up, go outdoors, come home for lunch, go back outside, come home for supper and go outside again until they saw the setting sun and realized they had to come home.

What bothers me is knowing that so many children nowadays come home from school and sit in front of the TV and either watch mindless television shows or play video games.  These kids are missing so much.   I realize that many kids live in  cities where there are no cow pastures.  I am  talking about the kids who could be outdoors but don’t bother. 

How can our children, the future caretakers of Earth,  learn how to value our planet if they never spend time outdoors discovering the  beauty that is available to every one of us?

Please let your children play outdoors if it is possible.  Teach them about nature.  

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hannah
    May 11, 2010 @ 00:18:21

    Great post!! I remember playing outside for hours as a kid. Thankfully my boys are very active and love to be outdoors, and we have a trampoline and a soccer goal in our backyard. Plus we live right next to a huge grassy park and the beach, so there’s plenty of outdoor spaces to play. I’m glad we live in an area with a lot of natural play areas – beaches, bush, wide open spaces, farms, etc. I think part of the problem is also parents not wanting/letting their children out of their sight these days. Gone are the days where kids wandered off to play at the park with their friends, it’s not really safe enough to do that anymore. But of course the invention of FAR too many electronic gadgets has kept a lot of kids indoors. Like you have mentioned, some “indoor” toys (like Barbies in your case, or marbles/cars/toy animals as other examples) can be played with outside too!


    • joanharvest
      May 15, 2010 @ 21:05:14

      Like you we live in a wonderful area for children to explore. The Island Land Bank has set aside 3000 acres spread all over the island, filled with trails. We also have many farms, fields, beaches etc. I am so grateful to not live in a city.


  2. sheng
    May 11, 2010 @ 06:00:10

    I do, and as much as possible I allow them to be friendly with other kids in the neighborhood. Hi there Anne!


  3. javajunkee
    May 11, 2010 @ 17:16:41

    that was a great post. Geez I remember growing up we HATED being inside. My kids grew up riding their bikes and playing in the sandbox. I agree kids of today spend way too much time inside!


  4. Doraz
    May 11, 2010 @ 18:15:51

    A very powerful message Joan. I hope for the same. My kids always had time outdoors and little time indoors. I make it a point to go to our mountain home as often as possible. Thank you for the photos. 🙂 Have a fun week exploring. 🙂


  5. Just a Mom
    May 12, 2010 @ 11:20:11

    My girls seem to want to stay inside alot. I am always telling them to go outside and play. Then they go outside and end up inside at one of their friends house! It drives me nuts sometimes!


  6. starlaschat
    May 12, 2010 @ 11:57:35

    Great post Joan. I agree outdoors for kids and adults it so important. Balance is what I look for I spend a fair amount of time in front of the TV and in front of the computer but I also try and spend time outdoors. I too use to love to explore outside as a child. We had so much fun just hanging out in the Summer definitely not spending too much time indoors. The smell of lilacs and watching the sunset. Life is Good.


    • joanharvest
      May 15, 2010 @ 21:07:09

      I watch my fair share of TV and spend lots of time o n my computer but now that the weather is good I will be taking Lilah outdoors as much as I am able. Yes, life is good.


  7. Tasneem R
    May 13, 2010 @ 07:21:40

    I too miss my childhood days Joan ! Like you I too remember my summer vacation and how I used to wait eagerly for it to start . I too had my childhood in a city hence I never had the fortune like you to go out in the pastures. But yeah the message which you’re trying to give to all of us is very noble . We and the coming generation are the caretakers of our Planet and in order to do that we must first learn how to adore its beauty .:)

    Your Green Personality–Which kind of Green suits you?


    • joanharvest
      May 15, 2010 @ 21:19:27

      Hi Tasneem! I miss being a child sometimes. I had a really nice childhood. It must be hard for city kids to get out. I guess it’s up to the parents to take them to parks when they can.


  8. teeni
    May 14, 2010 @ 12:00:26

    Awesome post! Showing a bit more of your creative side, I see. 🙂 I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the same subject and how people don’t spend enough time with nature and out of doors. As kids during summer, I even remember we would want to be outside even when it rained. Sometimes we’d just sit on the front porch to watch the thunderstorms (summer brought a lot of those in my childhood but they were neat and usually over with quickly) and hang out until the storms had passed, cooling things off a bit. Loved the smell of the damp, warm earth and then getting back on our bikes or back to whatever we were doing before the raindrops broke up our sunny days. Monopoly was also big fun when I was a kid. Nowadays I don’t have patience for such a long game but the Monopoly dice game and card game are a lot of fun too and much quicker. LOL.


    • joanharvest
      May 15, 2010 @ 21:13:52

      Nice to “see” you Teeni. I’ve been trying to blog a little more. My kids and I love thunderstorms. We used to drive around to follow them. I’d love to be a storm chaser. The smells of the outdoors are wonderful. I hope I never lose my sense of smell.


  9. Peter Parkour
    May 15, 2010 @ 02:38:32

    Couldn’t agree more. I have nine nieces/nephews here in town, and it never ceases to amaze me just how lazy they are. I think back to all the places I used to go (on bike or foot) and all the things I’d do, and all they want to do is watch TV, play video games or some other non-activity. 😕 Parents need to start lighting some fires before their kids expire. 😐


  10. Joy
    May 16, 2010 @ 17:46:57

    I love this Joan. I do indeed feel bad for kids of today. They don’t know what they’re missing. We never sat and watched TV in the summer. Yes, occasionally at night we’d watch shows but never during the day. We could also take off on our bikes and ride around all day long and as long as you were in time for supper, there were no worries.


    • joanharvest
      May 16, 2010 @ 19:18:03

      That’s how it was for me and my kids. Be home for supper and if it is still light out you can play outside until sunset. Basically it was no TV until dark because we preferred being outdoors and exploring.


  11. Yo' Momma
    May 25, 2010 @ 16:12:07

    I don’t think my children will be allowed outside. Too much work for me. I’ll find them a nice older abandoned child and make her their “nature nanny.”


    • joanharvest
      May 25, 2010 @ 21:46:19

      I never thought of the abandoned child thing. What an awesome idea though my son-in-law has sworn to kill me if I let anything happen to the baby. I don’t think he likes abandoned children. He always walks by them when they beg for food. He could at least throw them an aplle core or a crust.


  12. The Girl from the Ghetto
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 15:20:10

    Even though my childhood was in poverty, it was still wonderful, BECAUSE we played outside. I can not get my family outdoors unless I pitch a hissy fit, and I can’t pitch one three days a week, every week.

    Why are kids so lazy today? How can the internet be more exciting to anyone that THE OUTDOORS? I don’t get it.

    I was out from morning until midnight since age 8. Had a blast doing everything good and bad a kid can do in the 70s and 80s. Ah, the good old days ….

    Joan, you make me yearn for the east coast all the time, darn it!


  13. lupusranting
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:09:14

    You have such a way with words! Loved your post. I have amazing childhood memories that consist of spending most of my time outdoors. Actually, my mother never really knew where we were or what we were up to, as long as we showed up for meals and did our chores. Life has changed so much since then. That kind of freedom growing up is hard to come by these days. We didn’t really have air conditioning, we rode our bikes everywhere, and managed to stay out of trouble … for the most part. Life was good!


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