5.16.2014

Exceptional Drought Conditions in California


http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

IN DEFENSE OF BOREDOM:
It Can Lead to Imaginative Play, Creativity and the Great Outdoors


boredom child
Adapted from “Last Child in the Woods.”
Especially during summer, parents hear the moaning complaint: “I’m borrrred.” Boredom is fear’s dull cousin. Passive, full of excuses, it can keep children from nature — or drive them to it.
In summers past (at least through the fog of memory), children were more likely to be pulled or forced out of their boredom. In the late, hot afternoon, the Mickey Mouse Club might have been enough to pull you in from outside, but most of the day’s TV offered nothing except soaps and quiz games and an occasional cowboy movie — which made you want to leap up and head outside.
“Well, times have changed,” said Tina Kafka, a teacher and mother of three, when I interviewed her for Last Child in the Woods. “Don’t wax too nostalgic,” she advised. “Even if kids have all the unstructured time in the world, they’re probably not outside playing. They’re inside with their video games.”
She recognized how, in her own memories of childhood,  carefully-planned activities pale in comparison to more spontaneous experiences.  Like many parents, she wanted to make sure her own kids have such memories. But how? Here are a few suggestions.
• Recognize that boredom isn’t necessarily a negative. There’s a big difference between a negatively numbed brain and a constructively bored mind. Constructive boredom stimulates creativity. Constructively bored kids eventually turn to a book, or build a fort, or pull out the paints (or the computer art program) and create, or come home sweaty from a game of neighborhood basketball.
• Encourage outdoor play, especially in natural settings. Research shows that when children play in natural play spaces, they’re far more likely to invent their own games, than in more structured settings — a key factor in becoming self-directed and inventive as children and later in life.Research shows that when children play in natural play spaces, they’re far more likely to invent their own games, than in more structured settings — a key factor in becoming self-directed and inventive as children and later in life.