Friday, 18 April 2014

Hide 'n' seek

As M dug in the allotment and started planting out his little beetroots and Brussels sprout plants, the kids played hide 'n' seek. Poor Lj was at a slight disadvantage wearing her bright orange coat but she found some good hiding places none the less. It reminded me again of the simple games which children can initiate and enjoy without adult interference.

There has been a lot in the news recently about starting children younger at school, increasing the length of the school day and reducing the number of holidays. Over the past two weeks we have been enjoying our Easter holidays and I have witnessed how MJ and Lj started the two weeks asking if they could watch television every morning to not even bothering with it if it is turned on. I have witnessed them playing with an empty cardboard box for an hour in the garden and spending hours trying to dig a mine. Lj has spent a long time every day making cards, splat bugs (with pva glue), a spider from wool, drawing, writing and sticking. MJ has spent hours on end building police stations, fire engines, spaces buggies and jeeps from Lego. We launched rockets using a bottle, bung and bicycle pump, went swimming, played tennis, played in the park and rode our bikes.

Now, I am very thankful that my children have a good school to attend and I'm grateful that while they are at school I have kid free time to get some things sorted. I also appreciate that it is good for them to learn the discipline of having to be somewhere at a certain time, having to sit quietly and listen to instructions and learning all sorts of things which I would never think to teach them. But equally I feel so sad when I think that if the school day is lengthened and the holidays are shortened, when do our children get to learn life experiences for themselves and at their own pace? When do they feel relaxed enough to lie on the grass and watch the stars. When do they find a tree, climb it and start a 'club' with a real password?

Soon enough they will be working hard to support their own family and will have 4 days off for Easter but spend most of it recovering from long commutes and stressful jobs. While they are young and carefree, lets let them play!

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