By John Francis, WinSport Director – Marketing, Communications & Guest Services
I was over at a friend’s house having coffee when his tween and teen kid’s and friends emerged from the basement, fresh off of a marathon gaming session. As the kids made their way upstairs, they shielded their eyes from the sunlight and avoided any opportunity to join us on the back deck. Instead they settled in on the couches in the family room, shutting the blinds so the sunlight did not pierce their sensitive eyes.
Our discussion over coffee started to evolve and as a group of 40 somethings, we began to sound like our parents. Chatting about how kids are not getting outside, forgetting how to play and losing some of the essential skills that truly shaped our generation.
One parent did pipe up that our kids will have a much easier time controlling heavy duty equipment given their ability to manipulate joysticks. Another said scoring in hockey, soccer and other sports will go down as kid’s play first-person shooter games.
After a few more laughs we got back to our discussion. We all admitted some guilt on putting technology in front of our kids to get a couple minutes to prepare dinner, read an email or hop on a conference call. Some had strategies on limiting the time their kids played and working on finding a balance for both on and offline play.
Our discussion came full circle and we all agreed that our kids were certainly missing some of the fun play that we experienced as kids.
We quickly circled the table and each asked a question:
- Has your child climbed a tree?
- Has your child organized a pickup game of baseball or road hockey?
- Have you ever looked at the stars with your kids?
- Does your child know how to setup a tent?
- Has your child made a mud pie?
As we went around the table, it was disappointing that the majority of us answered “no” to most of these questions.
Our conversation went back to asking ourselves how we can help our kid’s learn these skills, which we identified in three ways:
- Be better role models – spend time with our kids offline and outside. Show them how we played growing up. Live in the moment and put down our phones.
- Encourage our kids to get outdoors and get dirty – After a rainstorm, put on some rain boots and jump in puddles, play in the dirt and show it is ok to get dirty or get out in the cold and snow and build a snow fort, snowman or have an epic snowball fight
- Find some great programs for our kid’s – most of us had our kid’s in organized sport. We all agreed that we need to find programs that encourage outdoor play that push their limits. Some talked about scouts and sleep-away camps. At that point, I was very excited to share the new programs our team at WinSport built.
I was able to share our new Wildhood camps which provides exposure to the outdoors across multiple ages. Kids can learn how to build shelters, purify water and start a fire. Our adventure camps have kid’s climbing rocks, trees and playing outdoors.
I encourage many of you to start the conversation with your family and friends and see how you can help your kids grow offline and outdoors.
For more information on WinSport’s new summer camps, visit: https://www.winsport.ca/lessonsprograms/summercamps.cfm