Is your child free range?

Warning: this is not a food fad! Post by Nicola Baird, with some ideas loosely adapted from Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.

My favourite cartoon currently pinned to the fridge has two women indoors looking out at a garden where 2 kids play. “I see that even your children are free range!” says one quite shocked to the other, coffee cup dropping (I kind of imagine my sister in this exchange for some reason).

I like the idea of “playing out” although appreciate it is hard to do so in areas beset by traffic. So it was a shock to read Orange prizewinner Andrea Levy’s amazing recall of growing up on a north London council estate, Every Light in the House Burnin’, and find that kids not that long ago (1950s and 60s) would use the whole of Highbury as their area for hide and seek.

Imagine how fun that would be – my children often use just one room for hide and seek, which really can’t be that good. But for most families living in Highbury now, I suspect such a vast game is simply not going to be allowed to happen.

Tackling the way we increasingly cage our children is Daniel over at Love Outdoor Play. He’s made a cunningly short film (less than 2 mins) to help us think about whether the caged life is the one we want for our kids – and whether this is good for the kids. I recommend you watch it,  see here.

Now, if you’ve got any tips for getting your children’s friends playing out share them here. Thank you.

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