Readers — May 22, a week from this Saturday, is the very first “Take Our Children to the Park…And Leave Them There Day.” The idea behind it is simple: Most of us want our children to play outside and have fun, but this is impossible because there aren’t any OTHER kids outside for our kids to play with. It’s a problem folks often cite as the reason they won’t be participating in the holiday. But that’s precisely the reason TO join in!
Clearly we are in the middle of a vicious cycle — there are no kids outside so I won’t let MY kids outside, so there are no kids outside, so you don’t let YOUR kids outside, so I don’t let MY kids outside, etc. , etc., etc –which is why the holiday (or whatever it is) is even necessary. It is a day to break the cycle. A day to get kids outside to meet each other and re-learn the lost art of playing! As opposed to PlayStationing.
And once again, let me reiterate that this is not a day to leave our 2-year-olds in the park. It is meant for kids age 7 or 8 and up. And it needn’t be more than an hour or even a half hour. And you can just take a walk around the block, if that’s all you or your child are ready for. And you can give them cell phones! I just want to get kids out of the house so they can frolick and maybe even plan to do this strange thing where they ask a friend to “come out and play” again. And it’s a great time for parents to meet each other, too! The way to really make any community safe requires reviving just that — community! Connect with your neighbors and everyone watches out for everyone else.
To that end, I’m going to suggest 10 a.m. as a good time to make it to the park, if you can. Of course, any time is fine (well, maybe not 10 p.m.), but if we have an official “starting” time, there’s more of a chance that several kids will be at the park at the same time.
So — that’s the current plan. Here in New York City there is some media interest in the day. Yay! So if there’s one particular playground in Central Park that you are heading for, let us know and maybe a bunch of us can head over there together. (I know there’s some big rock my son and his friend love to climb around 64th Street.)
That’s it. Let us be in touch! — Lenore