Childhood Play

DenaJune 18, 2015

childhood play //

Some of my very best memories from childhood were long days spent playing outside in nature. I was always blessed to live within a short walk to some type of woods. For awhile we lived right on a big forest and when we later moved, there were little woods within walking distance. Now that I am a mother, one of my favorite things to do is to spend time in nature with my own little ones. There is always something to see, do, and explore in nature. When I am out there, I find myself feeling like a child again. Yesterday, while Marina was sleeping, Roman and I took a nature walk and made fairy wands — sticks wrapped with dandelion and clover blossoms.

Some of my other favorite memories from childhood — believe it or not — are of playing Nintendo! My sister and I would spend rainy days inside playing the old classics, Duck Hunt and Mario Brothers. (I’m really dating myself here!) I am not one of those parents who adamantly opposes technology. My sister and I learned a lot while playing Nintendo, like patience, perseverance, and how to share. Later, when home computers came on the scene, my parents got us one of the earliest models. Does anybody remember Oregon Trail? (Dating myself again!) And as technology evolved, we upgraded along the way. Accessing technology in our home allowed us to learn and stay at the front of the pack when it came to technology in the classroom, and even later as we entered the workplace.

childhood play //

That being said, would I prefer that my children play outside instead of in front of a screen? You bet! Nothing can replace the importance of time spent outdoors, learning in nature and developing a reverence for the earth. But I also feel that most things are fine in moderation. Technology is beneficial for development and it can be a real lifesaver for us parents. For example, while I was suffering through my first trimester of pregnancy with Marina, Roman had marathon days of Curious George and playing games on the iPad. I’m not ashamed of this! When somebody is sick or when the weather is crap, technology is a fun, safe way to keep little ones busy.

When Roman first showed an interest in our iPhone and iPad, we allowed him to play some simple toddler games. Our favorites were Counting 123 and Peek-a-Boo Barn. It was amazing to watch him interact with technology, all while learning counting, numbers, and animal names & sounds. Now that he’s a bit older, he’s loving the Poki website and his favorite games are in the Inside Out Games section. He also loves Jerry’s Diner, featuring Jerry the mouse from the old classic, Tom and Jerry. (I’m such a sucker for classic Looney Tunes characters.)

childhood play //

We also allow Roman to watch TV a couple of times each day, usually once in the morning and once before bed. We keep him busy with projects, games, gardening, and adventuring all day; so sitting him down and allowing him to watch an age-appropriate show for half an hour is a welcome — and necessary! — break for Mama & Papa. While we haven’t had cable in eight years, we do have Netflix and Amazon Prime, which we love because there are no commercials. He’s always loved Curious George and Little Bear. Thomas the Train is a recent favorite, too.

At the end of the day, what matters most to me is that I have healthy, happy children. It’s so important to me that they love nature the way that I do and that they are able to create their own beautiful memories in the outdoors. At the same time, technology has its place in a happy & bright childhood, too.

What about you? Do you believe that technology — in moderation — is okay for kids? What was your favorite memory from childhood?

This post is in partnership with Poki. As always, thank you for supporting the companies that help to make my blog possible.

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