Word on the street is that if a kid was born in the 90s, there is no holding him or her back (or shutting him or her up) on reminiscing about the glory days of playing outside.
A much foreign concept to the developing Generation could be considered one of the last generations to spend its carefree, after-school hours immersed in the great outdoors, away from electronics.
Here are the top five reasons playing outside as a child has major benefits:
1. Fresh Air, Fresh Minds
As a child, nothing compared to bragging about how many pairs of pants you’ve lost due to dirt stains or championing a game of four square. Playing outside offered the chance to stimulate our imaginations to create silly games and obstacle courses.
Not only did the outdoors allow us to exercise physically, but also mentally. Can’t you recall how difficult it was to think on-the-spot for TV tag? And, not to sound like a nagging mother, but staring at the TV for far too long as a child can actually rot your brain.
The Mayo Clinic suggests TV may be linked to problems such as aggressive behavior, impaired academic performance and obesity.
2. We Learned On The Streets
Playing with the big kids on the street was a whole new world. The girl who couldn’t be out past dinnertime last year was all of a sudden repeating curse words you had no idea existed.
The outside world doubled as our Google; we simply learned from others.
It was second nature to acquire the mastery skill of the bunny hop on the Razor scooter or learn how to skateboard from the hot neighbor next door through real-time observation, not a YouTube tutorial. We went flying on the handlebars headfirst; it was monkey see, monkey do.
3. Living In The Moment
Instead of worrying about how many likes we reach on Instagram or posting the funniest Snapchat, we actually enjoyed each other’s company without having anything to prove.
We didn’t have the constant ding! sound of a new text message from our parents asking where we were or the distraction of Twitter to subtweet our archenemy, who, for sure cheated in the game red light, green light.
Time was measured in how much homework we still had to finish, and when the next “time out” ended … which could take, like, forever!
4. Life Lessons
Recess was a time to scout for the best Yu-Gi-Oh! card to trade or the person who had the coolest lunchbox. It was also a time to swear off tattletales, foster friendships and maybe deal with the harsh rejection of being last pick in kickball.
Looking back, recess was beyond a classroom break; it was a foreshadowing of the realities we face later in life. Valuable lessons stem from the schoolyard: cliques, rejection, punishment, winning and more.
Although recess is still implemented today, Millennials were taught to deal with pain, not get coddled with terms of endearment.
5. Stranger Danger Didn’t Exist
It only took less than a decade for our attitudes toward strangers to shift. For Millennials, our parents warned us to always stay close to home and watch out for sketchy vans that offered candy (but the ice cream man doesn’t count!).
So, if a dog walker crossed paths with us on the block, you can bet money we asked to pet the dog or wondered what its name was.
However, if that occurred in today’s society, most kids are conditioned to fear strangers and automatically assume they all have harmful intentions.
And, although that possibility should never be ruled out, our forwardness and friendliness as children encouraged our earnestness and remains unparalleled.
Every generation shares different experiences growing up. In Generation-Y’s case, we just happen to be one of the last cohorts to acquire some hard-knock skills on a rowdy block, warning others to disperse in a game of street hockey by shouting, “CARRRRR!!!!”
By Stephanie Cillo