When I was pregnant with my first child, I imagined all the fun I would have with my children.
I had memories of not having much as a child and I wanted this to be different for my family. More toys, more opportunities, more time with me and more love.
By the time my son was 2 yrs old, I looked around the overcrowded room of toys one day and realised this image did not match my idea of life, not that I had articulated it to myself or anyone else very well previously, I just had one of those life changing moments. I did not want my children growing up thinking it was okay to have all this “stuff” It all had to go!
I organized a huge garage sale and it all went. Anything left over went to the charity shop.
Once it was all gone, the first thing I noticed is how light my head felt and how clear the room looked. Christian came out to play that day and looked around the room for his toys. They werent’ there but he did not cry or seemed concerned. He just looked around the room, touched all the furniture slowly, then went outside.
The next thing that happened was the affirmation I needed that I had done the right thing. He ran to the garden, picked up a small shovel that I had left in our small stash of outside toys, and started digging. I watched him come back in side, find a container from my cupboard and return the garden. The next few hours involved a lot of digging and dirt. There was water, sand, plants and dirt involved and it was the most peaceful playing session I had ever observed.
When we used to play inside with toys, his attention span was never more than 2 minutes. I would continually show him a new toy or game or song, expecting the initial delight to last and feeling disappointed that he did not like it more.
It turns out that I am not the only parent to have discovered this. I discovered a lot of parents talking about Nature Play and Minimalism.
I love this blog by Denhaye Barahona and encourage you to check out her writings.
Canberra is leading the way in Australia for Nature Play Spaces for kids which is so important for their nervous system in this world of high tech.
I love this one in Western Australia too I love this story of how this nature event was an explosive success. Called the Cubby Town event, the nature craft activities are inspirational. Katherine Healy says that they were “We were astounded at the amazing cubby creations we saw on display, from multi-dome buildings draped in netting to form a gauzy ceiling, to structures with rope roof “beams” strung between trees and branches laid along the sides to form a triangular tunnel dwelling, to hanging shades hovering three feet off the ground, suspended from overhead branches, it was a wonder to behold.
Maybe you could consider a Nature Play Place for your town? Discover more at this link http://www.natureplay.org.au