: Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood Into A Place for Play
Author: Mike Lanza
Maybe I sound old saying this, but I remember when I was little, we could run around our neighborhood without worrying too much about someone snatching us up, running us over, or calling the cops on us for making too much noise. I know when my mom was little, neighborhood play was even more of a big event. I was watched a little more closely than I imagine she was. I mean, we’re talking about a generation who thought it was fun to run through insecticide smoke! They even called the truck “Mr. Smokey!” And I wonder why it took me six years to get pregnant with my son. My generation grew up in a slightly less appealing world, but we were still pretty safe playing in our own yards.
These days, it seems like kids spend a lot less time just playing in their neighborhood and hanging out with other kids. There is really no such thing as “free time” anymore, as kids are in school for six hours a day, then spend at least an hour doing homework, plus the time they spend on the bus getting to and from. Factor in after-school activities, arranged playdates (which seem a little too close to arranged marriages these days!) and other family activities that eat up all their time, and kids are left with maybe 15 minutes of unscheduled time a day.
Mike Lanza, author of Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood Into A Place for Play , understands how important it is for children to have unstructured free time, and in his book he offers numerous solutions to bring back neighborhood play. The first section of the book explains the problem in detail, along with the social and academic impacts that it has on our children. The second section highlights the steps Lanza took to make his neighborhood a place for play. This section offers a wealth of suggestions, ranging from something as simple as adding a picnic table with storage boxes holding a variety of activities to as elaborate as installing a whiteboard picket fence that kids can draw on. Other chapters cover the efforts of people from completely different neighborhoods, so in the end you have a huge selection of suggestions that you can use to turn your neighborhood into a more kid-friendly zone.
The last section offers additional advice on how to help solve the problem, including letting your older children roam with cell phones, which may keep them safer and definitely eases your mind while they’re out exploring. The book is a quick and easy read, but the information contained within can completely change your child’s life. Visit Playborhood to learn more and read a sample chapter.