"the city is my jungle gym"
When I was younger, I spent a majority of my time outside. I climbed trees, built forts, and biked down to the nearby park to play with my friends. This kind of interaction with your surroundings is important. Not only does it familiarize yourself with your community, it makes you more aware of your environment and its needs.
Nowadays, kids would rather work on their Guitar Hero skills rather than go outside. They spend hours in front of the television everyday. Some parents even have to bribe their children to get some fresh air. ( I know this to be true --- my parents pay my younger brother double to mow the lawn, just so he steps out of his â€ślairâ€?).
I found this poem by Dee Cohen called â€śPlaygroundâ€? (1)
Watch us go to the park,â€¨
plastic tires of your big wheelâ€¨
clattering on the pavement,
â€¨shop windows, groceries,
â€¨bus stops and benches,
â€¨through fence slats â€¨houses click by.
At the playgroundâ€¨
we climb the slide,
â€¨the earth belowâ€¨
peeking up through holes
â€¨in the metal stairsâ€¨
and the clouds swinging back and forth
in the big sky.
On top we look out â€¨over the whole park,
the lawns bright and green,â€¨
the picnic tables laid out in rows of three,
â€¨the bandstand, a smooth curved shell
â€¨with empty seats waitingâ€¨for an audience.
You slide down first
and I hear your voice,
calling back to me.â€¨
by the time I reach bottom,â€¨
The poem embodies the nostalgia that almost everyone my age feels when going to the park. To impact the environment in a positive way, these feelings of sentiment need to be present. Like in â€śGenuis Lociâ€? that we read for class, the old man feels a connection with the particular place he grew up. In order for future generations to fully appreciate our environment and take care of it (better than we have been), they first need to establish a relationship with it. That is why if I had the time, and the money, I would create a play area for kids. By being outside more, and familiarizing themselves with the environment, kids will a greater need to take care of it. Parks and jungle gyms are also important for all kids to have an opportunity to play and build the social skills necessary for life.
Parks can also be beneficial to adults as well. Going to the park and interacting with your child helps build a stronger relationship. This in turn, will help create a happier, healthier family.