Where Do the Children Play?

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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…but not for everyone.

Pity the poor kids who have nowhere to play.

Many of their parents can’t afford to live in a detached house with a yard and/or cul-de-sac and are raising their children in a condo or a townhouse. Not a play area in sight, just a maze of concrete and fire lanes.

Developments run by a strata council which is a group of owners.

Just like where I live.

Just like where the kids in a small community on Vancouver Island live and have been banned from playing on the street outside their complex by their strata council.

As president of my strata, we haven’t made such a decision despite complaints from some owners not liking children playing outside where there are cars coming and going.

God forbid these kids should mess up the concrete with colourful chalk drawings in order to play hopscotch. Or kick around a ball. Or ride a bike.

Or make too much noise.

It’s hard being a kid these days.

In my weekend paper, I noticed not one, but two ads featuring adorable little faces and the captions I love to run and I love to hop. It goes on to say how much their parents love it too because it is a lifelong skill which will prove useful.

It adds, “Help me develop physical literacy and I will be active for life.”

Sounds wonderful doesn’t it.

But where in our urban sprawl are they going to be able to hop or run?

Surely not in the congested urban communities in which we live.

We condemn these kids because they are glued to their electronic devices but on the other hand, there is nowhere for these children to be active and to just be a kid.

Oh, how I remember being a kid during summer holidays.

Playing outside all day until we were hungry. Rushing home to eat something then heading back outside again until it was dark.

I remember tearing up to Gloria’s house on my bike with my roller skates with the key to my skates on a string around my neck. No key to my house as we didn’t lock doors back then.

Skinned knees when I fell off my bike but picking myself up and dusting myself off.

Memories of playing hopscotch or skipping Double Dutch or playing jacks on the sidewalks or lawns or the street.

Making mud pies and groveling in the dirt to play marbles.

Walking up to the corner store to buy a popsicle to split with my friend.

My boyfriend remembers rushing to his favourite fishing hole once the newspapers were delivered.

And catching frogs.

Playing scrub or 500 up…with a baseball and bat.

All amidst gales of laughter and an adventurous spirit.

Noisy, happy, innocent children playing without a parent in sight.

No one complained because we were playing on the street or the sidewalk. We moved aside when a pedestrian or a car approached.

Oh yes, and did I mention we walked to school every day unaccompanied by a parent.  Uphill both ways in a snowstorm we brag to our own children and grandchildren today!

We didn’t have to be encouraged to be active. We were then and continue to be active today as Zoomers.

So please give the kids today a break.

Drive with caution when you enter your complex and when you see a kid playing, ask if you can join them in their fun.

Summertime, and the livin’ should be easy for the child in all of us.



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