EVEN IN TIMES OF CRISIS AND CORONAVIRUS …
We have never spent so much time at home before … And I hope we don’t have to relive many more episodes like this one. But if this health crisis is showing me something, it is how children need risk, adventure, fresh air, running, jumping …
Of course, it is not that it is anything new or that we did not know, but it is that being at home and in a limited space is allowing me to observe how Terrícola tries, with all the means at its disposal, to recreate spaces and times of risk and adventure.
When I look at him, that need clearly comes to me.
We have a small garden that reaches at most 50 square meters. In that space there is a wooden house, a little corner to “cook” and do experiments in the open air, an area of land that they can freely manipulate and little else, since I have always prioritized that there be free space to run and move and not just a Lots of crammed game items.
And this idea was also influenced by the fact that we have a very close park and nature in which the little one could already swing, move, jump down long slides or climb trees.
However, exceptionally for this unique time we have incorporated a rope that goes from end to end and on which there are now hanging a swing, a hammock, a ladder and a rope.
Well, after the novelty of the first days with the hammock or the swing … I observe how he constantly modifies everything that is in the garden to give him greater risk and adventure, to check new possibilities … This he does even in the simplest spaces.
For example … If a puddle has been created in the garden, put wood on it and try to move it trying not to fall into the puddle.
The garden house that has a ladder to climb as well as a secret hatch… It doesn’t offer too many emotions for an 8-year-old boy anymore, so he puts logs and branches that go from the wall to the house to find new ways to climb the little house, that are more risky, innovative and adventurous (or, in any case, different).
Take advantage of the walls that delimit the garden to climb them. It climbs to the top of everything.
He also modifies the swings and ropes to give him more excitement. For example, he tied the rope ladder to the little house and created a passageway in which to climb, hold on… I have not made any video but the truth is that there are some things that he makes that seem spectacular to me.
And so a lot of ideas and proposals are parading through the home garden.
I am not assessing what is very or low risk. It is not so much about the difficulty involved or originality but the impulse that comes from him to try to challenge himself, to seek new goals, to combine the elements that are in the garden looking for new options and possibilities, to give adventure to his day a day.
And this connects me with the idea that many children live in their daily lives without the possibility of experiencing these adventurous situations. Without being able to carry out activities that involve a certain risk (understood in a positive sense, as I told you in this article ), in order to thus calibrate their abilities, to set goals to overcome and to play with their environment, creating new possibilities of play.
A great legion of children lives in our country locked between 4 walls. When they go abroad, they do so in cement patios or rubber parks, where the proposals are quite monothematic and linear. In addition, the play structures are fixed, they are anchored with cement, there are no elements that can be manipulated or transported to play with the possibilities of that environment.
Then they come home and naturally seek that adventure and creativity at home, be it jumping on the sofa, on the bed, climbing the railings, knotting ropes here or there, moving chairs and cushions …
Not all adults welcome all this movement inside the house… But I think how logical and how wise these children are! Because a little risk, creativity and adventure are necessary in childhood. Looking for these situations are innate drives that help children to gauge risks and their own capacities, which promote self-confidence and resilience.
This game of risk and adventure is a training for one’s own abilities, which reduces future injuries not only because children are more fit but because they are aware of what they can do and have learned to take care of themselves and value different situations.
I hope that this strange time of confinement is also showing you even more clearly and that by the end of this stage we are clear about how important it is to look for spaces where the adventure can take place.
The good news is that nature is free, that it offers this multitude of challenges and possibilities and that, if that were not enough, it is wide enough so that, in case it is still necessary, we can maintain safe distances.
I say the latter a bit in a humorous tone (or not …). Because laughter is another fundamental tool for these times of crisis, hehe.
But I do hope that in the near future all children have the opportunity to go and enjoy nature, to move, to climb trees, to pick up sticks and stones and create stories, structures and adventures with them, what do we value how important it is spending time outdoors for both physical and emotional health. That nature is a space that welcomes everyone and offers possibilities and challenges to each child (and adult) according to their needs.
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