Combating childhood obesity is not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. And we certainly want kids happy, healthy, and in good physical shape. But come on. Look at this: indoor exercise equipment for children?! I clipped these product announcements a while back and was just waiting for the right moment to rant. Your eyes don’t deceive you: what we have here is a stationary bike for children and yes, a kid-sized treadmill.
So there I was, heading to the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone at the Ithaca Children’s Garden. It was winter play camp week during the winter break and I was coming to hang with the kids and see what fun things were happening. I arrived mid-morning and was excited to check out the scene. Much to my surprise as I pulled up: nobody was there. It was a beautiful sunny day — the perfect day for outside winter camp — but where was everybody?
Did you know that there is an Adventure Play Renaissance happening worldwide right this very minute? Yes! How exciting is that? People everywhere are being inspired and empowered to create new versions of the classic Adventure Playground model: a place for children filled not just with fixed playground equipment, but instead filled with loose parts for construction, trees to climb, water to explore, animals to tend, gardens to grow, fires to cook over, and much much more—all with the support of trained professional “playworkers.”