Putting iPads Away and Stepping Outside to Play

You learn a lot of things through the act of play. An ability to increase your sense of curiosity and adventure; how to take a risk; how to simply give things a go for the hell of it; and above all else, an ability to simply smile and enjoy yourself without a care in the world



The way we were

I am a 90's child; looking back brings fond memories of playing football and cricket on any available green areas in my local town. I distinctly remember a group of us finding a tiny patch of grass adjacent to a block of decaying garages. We managed to organise a game of cricket between us all. I can still see an image of the ball trickling towards a busy road as a result of a perfectly orchestrated cover drive - earning my team four valuable runs. I have such clear, happy memories of immensely enjoyable times spent as a youngster.

Old games - new times

Fast forward a couple of decades and I am still witnessing similar scenes amongst new generations of keen, energetic children. 

As I entered a small park with the two boys I look after, I noticed two older boys - around 10 or 11, walking toward the football pitch - one with a football at his feet, the other with one of those sponge toys, a whistling throwing rocket.

iPads and smart phones seemed to be out of sight and out of minds, allowing them to experience life as a kid in the outdoors, away from touch screens and Instagram.

Picture this...

They began by simply kicking the ball to each other numerous times - controlling, chipping and passing - showing obvious ability at ball control and an equal interest in the game.

The ball suddenly became obsolete as one of the boys started to throw the second piece of accompanying kit - the whistle rocket. He threw it toward the other boy - who attempted to catch it, but missed the catch. He threw it back; the other boy attempted a catch. This went on for a minute or so until one of the boys decided to throw the rocket a different way - he threw it by turning the rocket around 180 degrees, so the chunkier part was facing himself and the 'thrust' was facing his friend. The boy subsequently threw it toward said friend and the rocket travelled a lot further than the previous attempts.

His face and reaction were absolutely priceless.

"Wow, it's way better this way!" he shouted excitedly toward his friend - who equally displayed utter joy at the realisation that his chum had discovered something so exhilarating. Suddenly they both took on this new method of throwing. The jubilant reactions and obvious happiness was evident and it was refreshing to watch as they both continued in their sudden new phase of play.

Real play is best

Amongst the advanced technology in all of our lives, it's still satisfying to see that something so simple can bring so much joy to a young person. No selfie stick, Xbox or Facebook status in sight. No. Instead, an ability to live in a real world of green grass, air, a rocket which whistles, and an uncanny natural human ability to be curious. I love that they took that curiosity further by giving it a go and throwing that rocket the "wrong way".

Andy Robinson, Working Dad

Find more child and parenting related articles on Andy's Huffington Post page.

Share this:
quotation mark
Thank you for the support and everything Tinies Training has done for me.
Ellen, Level 5 Diploma, Childcare Training Courses