Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting the bug

I've been re reading a book I bought last year called "a child's garden" by Molly Dannenmaier. I love, love, love this book. It is so full of great ideas for building, planting and creating outdoor space for children. I have read it several times already. The title pretty much sums up what this book is about. But it goes much deeper than just your everyday garden.

I'm sure I'm not the only parent out there that thinks the great outdoors is good for my child. As a whole, I think kids today spend too little time outside. Too little time soaking in the sunshine, breathing fresh air, feeling grass on their feet. They spend too much time sitting indoors, in front of televisions or computers. It's not good for them.

The sun avoidance faction would have us believe that any sun touching our skin is bad for us. I think that couldn't be farther from the truth. Obviously, neither we nor our children should be sitting in the sun for hours on end unprotected. But the complete lack of sunlight touching our skin isn't good either. We need it.

Water is another element that gets a lot of mention in this book. Again, there is a section of the population that encourages us to avoid having any unfenced water on our property in order to avoid any chance of danger. And again, unsupervised children around sources of water is a dangerous combination. There is a reason so many children drown each year. They are drawn to water. It is in our nature to want to get closer to water. It's fascinating how it moves, sounds, feels. Again, we need it.

Then there are the plants. The act of planting, of putting our hands in the dirt, of seeing the results of our labors. It's good for us. It's good for our children. Children learn through their senses. I would argue that in order for them to fully develop, they need to learn through all of their senses.

So now that I'm reading this book again, I'm getting the urge to start putting together some things outside. Hopefully, Master J will help me out. He usually does. I guess even if I'm completely wrong about needing sunshine, water and plants, spending time with Master J has to make a difference in his life.