Let Kids Run, Jump, Climb, Swing and Be Social.
Kids are social and curious creatures by nature. They are also designed to run, jump, climb, and swing on things! Remember the things you did when you were at camp? Did you shoot a bow and arrow? Do arts and crafts? Learn to navigate a river? Learn to survive in the wilderness? When you weren’t in camp, do you remember climbing just about every tree in your neighbourhood? Did you hang out at the park on the swings? How much fun was that? If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, one thing that you don’t remember doing in the summer is being on a cell phone or iPad. We simply got to enjoy getting to play. Heaven, right?
We get it, the world is changing. Even our staff have caught themselves saying, “When I was kid”, and I hated when my parents would say that! Every generation is different — we didn’t have cell phones, but we did have MTV music videos, Nintendo, and listening to a CD or watching VHS movies. The one thing that connects us all, however, is the power of play. When was the last time you just ran towards something with absolute joy?
When having the privilege to work with kids, we are reminded of the joy they get from getting to have an adventure. Whether it be getting to jump off a 12 ft platform onto a crash pad, or swinging on rings like vines in Pandora, kids are excited to have adventures. We see kids everyday doing what nature intends for them to do.
Over these last few years, we have seen kids lose sight of what truly maters—being around other people. We are not meant to be isolated. When it is safe to do so, kids should be taking risks, making mistakes, and getting messy. Wait, is that? Yup, that’s the Magic School Bus quote that we all heard growing up. We do not have to avoid mistakes! We welcome them as opportunities to grow and be better.
We find that when a child starts to ask questions, then they are ready to learn. We want to be able to teach kids how to do challenging things, safely. Like keeping three points of contact on an obstacle while climbing it. If someone is afraid of falling and acts carelessly then yes, a fall can happen. But if they understand that if they are careful and keep three points of contact on the obstacle, they will not fall. “I got this!” is the confidence gained after successfully climbing a cargo net 13 ft above an obstacle course, and that confidence can translate into other areas of life. The only time we should look back is to look just how far we have come.
Failure is the result from an attempt. But so is success. When we fall down and pick ourselves back up, we ask, ‘did I do my best? How can I do better?’ We believe that ‘Practice makes Progress, and that Perfect People do not exist.’ We can always do and be better. Life is about what you pick up on your journey, and we are honoured to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in a child’s life through play.