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My husband and I take turns to take our 2 and a half year old out of the house to indulge in some outdoor play daily. This is a ritual we follow religiously for I believe that life exists beyond the confines of our digitalised and airconitioned houses and it is of paramount importance to let our daughter experience every bit of nature , to feel the warmth of sun , the freshness of the breeze , the fragrance of the flowers and soak in whatever is left of once pristine nature. Alas it will not be long before the words of W.H. Davies will start making sense:
"What is this life, if, full of care ,
We have no time to stand and stare.!!!"
Childhood is the most celebrated period of one's life. No other stage is as exciting and as exuberant as it is. When we are kids we always look upto our parents, aunts , uncles and envy the life they enjoy. We envy them for living their lives on their own terms and conditions without constant dos and don'ts from the parents. We envy them for not having to take exams and for splurging as much as they can. What we don't realise as kids is that in the blink of an eye childhood will be a thing of the past and we will soon be part of the rat race called life. Kids will realise this truth sooner or later but while the kids are still kids we as parents should let them bask in the glory of childhood. We should allow them to get completely drenched in every little joy childhood has to offer because soon it will be that phase in their lives which will be found only in random folders in laptops under the name "childhood memories".
I believe we should feed the effervescent and adventurous nature of children. So to do that:
LET THE KIDS PLAY WITH MUD
Yes let them dig into the earth with bare hands, feel the texture and smell the soil.Don't worry about clothes getting dirty. Washing machine is there to take care of the dirty laundry and why to worry about grimy and grubby hands and feet. Those soaps that the manufactures claim to kill 99.9% of germs are there to help us out in cleaning the kids later.
LET THEM SPLASH IN PUDDLES
No one but a child alone can tell the joy of splashing in those mucky and muddy little pools of water. Again worrying about the mud splashed clothes with stains which will require a strenuous cleaning task? Well haven't you heard them saying "daag ache hai na?" in one of those detergent advertisements? So let the onus be on that detergent to give clean and stain free clothes. You just believe in this "agar bachche haste hain toh daag definitely ache hain" as I do. Go jump in the puddle with ur baby and you will soon feel like the most liberated soul on earth.
LET THEM DRENCH IN RAIN WATER
Have you ever wondered how long it has been when you last got drenched in rain? Well as far I remember it was only when I was a kid. I don't remember having done that in a very long time. At least I have the pleasant memory of sailing paper boats and trying to catch rain drops in the curve of my palms. Let your kids make such memories to cherish forever. Let them take in that nice fragrance of rain soaked earth that will leave a smile on their faces and remind them of the pleasant childhood on of those rainy days when they'll be busy making money in an air conditioned office.
LET THEM MAKE SAND CASTLES
It is so much fun to run around on a beach, scour the beach for sea shells, to draw random figures on the sand and to give the engineer in your kid a chance to make sand castles. Added bonus is splashing and swimming in the sea water. Let your kids be enamoured by these little pleasures of life if the geography of your place allows you to do that. Otherwise a holiday on the beach is never a bad idea!!
LET THEM CLIMB THE TREES
I haven't tried climbing a tree myself but I always longed to do so whenever I saw my cousins climbing the trees and plucking juicy fruits direct from the branches. Oh the taste of those succulent mangoes still lingers on my tongue and whenever I eat one bought from the local vendor I always comment,"this isn't even close to the one that my cousin plucked from the tree. May be it isn't the taste but the pleasant memory that still lingers on...Well in the urban set up, in the concrete jungles that we live in now a days you might not find a tree to pluck fruits from but you can always let your kid have the joy of climbing on or balancing on and jumping from a tree branch in a nearby park!! safety measures to be taken care of though.
Scientifically also it is proven that it's very important to allow kids to explore nature and come in close proximity of nature by touching the leaves, smelling the flowers , digging the earth ,drenching in rain water etc.
It enhaces the imagination of a child
Promotes physical growth
Encourages team work
Develops hand to eye coordination and fine motor skills
Helps in social skills
Helps to develop cognitive skills
Well not just the outdoor play but indoor fun activities also enhance the creative bend of mind. So if it doesn't hurt anyone it's ok to break certain rules sometimes.
LET THEM PAINT THEIR HANDS AND CLOTHES, LET THEM WRITE ON THE WALLS , LET THEM PLAY WITH THE DOUGH, LET THEM DANCE TO A SILLY NUMBER , LET THEM MAKE FUNNY FACES , LET THEM SCREAM IN JOY, LET THEM JUST BE KIDS!!
So it's not just about making memories and giving our kids the opportunity to laugh and play but also to play and learn & learn and grow. Let your kids chase the butterflies , watch the birds, run around, gather stones. Let them just rejoice in various treasures of the "treasured bachpan".. You too can grab the chance of becoming a kid again. Run around , play along, dig in, splash in and feel fortunate to be given that chance by none other than your own kids. Thank God for granting you the opportunity to be that kid again who got lost somewhere in the false pursuit of happiness!!!
While I take delight in watching Amayra thoroughly enjoying herself in shoveling and sifting and patting mud , I think about unlimited joys of childhood. Suddenly my thoughts are jolted by the screams of a kid being scolded by her mom for trying to make a " muddy shake". The elated kid was trying to make this shake by mixing water and mud and in doing so the poor soul spoiled her new dress and shoes. A tough cleaning job ahead for this mommy I thought. At that instance Amayra finds me looking at the teary eyed toddler and visibly angry mom.She pauses for a while and asks me "Amu hands dirty, clothes dirty! mumma also gussa?" I give her an encouraging smile and say not at all my love. Carry on while you still have time and age to enjoy in the lap of mother nature!!!! Rest about clothes and hands, I am there to take care of it.