Posted by: Kate | April 27, 2009

A Natural Connection

A few weeks ago in the car I heard a snippet of conversation on the CBC about getting children outdoors. Turns out there is a serious disconnect happening with our children and the outside world, what with the life of technology their generation leads. The experts and callers were all discussing solutions to this problem.

There were many great suggestions, talk about programs and sports and scouts and parks and recreation centres and playgrounds. And these are all wonderful things.

But in the five or ten minutes that I was listening I was shocked to not hear one person (and there were callers both male and female of all ages calling in) say the most obvious. Let your child play outside.

Bush Boy is an outdoor kid for a reason — we have let him play outdoors since he was little. You want to collect slugs in the back of your ride ’em trike? Go for it! You want to go splash in the puddles in the middle of November? Go for it. You want to drive your trucks in the dirt at the back of the flower garden? Go for it.

Not only did we let his ideas thrive, but we offered up some of our own. Hey, where are the crickets hiding that we can hear? Let’s blow bubbles off the deck. Let’s walk the dog at the beach. I wonder if you can climb that tree?

Now I realize that not all families have access to the great outdoors as we do. But I’ll wager that most families have access to some dirt and grass, whether it be a back yard, a school, or a local park.

Here’s the thing, though. You have to let your child get dirty. In preschool I was shocked by how many parents would tell the teacher they didn’t want their kids getting dirty. How is a child supposed to explore the world, especially the world of outside, without getting at least a little dirty?!

Programs are great, sports are wonderful. But there is nothing wrong with a kid having a spoon and a bucket and digging in the dirt.

You never know, you just might create a Bush Child of your own.



  1. I have to agree with you Kate on this one :) And lets not forget the fun times of camping in the bush and everyone getting good and dirty ;)

  2. You are I are a couple of peas in a pod.

  3. Hear, hear!

  4. I just found your blog and couldn’t agree more. Rock on with getting a little sand between your toes and dirt under your nails. That’s what kids do and it’s a shame to keep them from exploring.

  5. I love your theory on letting kids explore and get dirty. It amazes me how people seem to think that the clothes are the most important thing to nurture rather than the developing minds, bodies, and imaginations!

  6. I agree too. Clothes can be washed and scrapes heal, but childhood can’t be redone. I can’t imagine not having access to the natural world. I want my little ones to splash and play!

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