“Leave Your Kids…” is the slightly derogatory nickname for what is, officially, “Take
No matter what you call it, the actual holiday is THIS SATURDAY.
WHAT IS IT? A day for kids to experience what most of us loved when WE were kids: the chance to spend free time with other kids, just goofing around, with no adults telling them what to play, how to play it, and when to eat the orange slices.
WHERE? Your local park.
TIME: 10 a.m.
AGE: Age 7 or 8 and up. (Feel free to hang out there with your kids if they are younger, of course!) Seven is the age most of the rest of the world has its kids get to school on their own.
WHAT’S THE GOAL? Many times, kids who would love to play outside don’t, because they don’t see any other kids out there. If we “re-seed” the parks with kids, by getting them all there at the same time just this once, with any luck they will have so much fun, they will want to do it…forever.
WHAT IF SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS? What if they stay home and something bad happens? Perfect safety is an illusion. We happen to be enjoying a 50-year crime low, so when our parents sent US outside, they trusted us when times were more dangerous. (And ALL crime is down, including against adults, whom we’re not helicoptering. So it’s not that kids are safe today simply because we’re locking them inside.)
HOW SHOULD WE PREPARE? Teach your kids to cross the street safely and not go off with anyone. These will go far towards protecting them. And free play will go far toward protecting them from other things, like depression, diabetes and obesity.
HOW CAN I FIND OTHER FAMILIES DOING THIS? Try going to freerangefriend.com. You put in your ZIP or Postal code and can find nearby Free-Rangers. Or make a Facebook page of your own!
NOT READY? Then go and stay with your kids! This isn’t a mandate. It’s a holiday. And if an unsupervised kid needs a Band-Aid or an Oreo — step right in! No permission slip needed!
WHERE WILL LENORE BE? I’ll be in Central Park with Peter Gray, author of the fantastic book, “Free to Learn,” which is all about how FREE PLAY is nature’s super vitamin, building their compassion, creativity, resilience, problem-solving and even entrepreneurial skills. Join us if you’re around. We’ll be at 85th and Fifth Avenue, from 10 – 11:30.
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? Just ask. I’ll answer them in an update. – L