Give your kids a “wildhood” by giving them fun and adventure

Give your kids a “wildhood” by giving them fun and adventure

If I had a nickel for every time my daughter has said, “I’m bored”, I’d be able to afford a room full of toys that would likely keep her riveted a good, oh, maybe two hours, if I’m lucky. I can’t get mad, because it’s not her fault. I’ve been loving and playful and active, but I think there’s one way I’ve failed her — I haven’t taught her how to entertain herself.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I bet I’m not the only parent who has made this mistake. And I don’t think I’m the only one who has bought their kid a toy they’ve been begging for, only to see it gathering dust weeks later. Kids are so used to being entertained, whether it’s on screen or in a program, or just getting us parents to play with them, that they grow disinterested early, their imagination suffers, and they lose the simpler joys of just, well, regular play.

Recently, the Canadian RV association came up with an ad campaign that really hits home — even if your idea of roughing it is single-ply toilet paper. You don’t have to want to change your life and move into a motor home to understand their message. We’re reprinting it here:

Kids want their wildhoods back.

They want to play not have playdates.
Get dirty not sanitized.
They want you to trade your parenting books for a fishing rod.
They want to wander.
Be left alone for more than five minutes.
They want to sleep in a bunk.
Stare at the stars past their bedtime.
They want to eat with their hands.
Eat from a stick.
Visit their neighbour without a chaperone.
They want to run, skip, and roam free.

Let’s give them what they are truly missing.
Let’s give them back their wildhoods.

At the risk of getting all Grandpa Simpson or overly nostalgic, remember when you could go to the park with your brother or sister and not risk your mother getting arrested? Remember when we didn’t have to worry they’d cancel tobogganing? Remember how playing in a snowbank was the best time you’d ever had?

No, I’m not selling the house and moving into a motor home, but there are many ways to emulate this explore the world mentality. I think we could start with a family camping trip. The first adventure: trying to find the sleeping bag amongst our hoarder-worthy storage room.

How do you keep the spirit of adventure and active play up in your family? Email, Tweet, or Facebook us with your suggestions.

2 responses to “Give your kids a “wildhood” by giving them fun and adventure

  1. Im with you Rob, I used to go out with my friends and come home for supper. It was the best times. Kids are missing out so much these days.

  2. I can’t tell you how much time my brother and I spent playing in a pile of sand my dad had at the side of the house. We grew up in the country and weren’t really given ‘boundaries’, just expectations that we’d tell where we were going and that we’d be smart about what we were doing. Building tree forts alone (after dad started the base and then let us be) is something I still remember vividly.

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