When I was a kid, just the word evoked excitement – there were so many fun things to do. If the weather was nice, you got to go outside! A break from school! There were rings to ring, rungs to run, slides to slide down and all sorts of bars to clamor over. There were balls to throw and kick, girls to chase with hair to pull, and painted lines to hop over, serve into and get played out of. There was grass to run in, sand to dig in and dirt to slide on. If you were a loner, there were bugs to crawl after, butterflies to try to capture, and clouds to imagine make shapes in. There were people to watch, shade to sit in and little rocks to kick. There was a whole world of adventure and it was just outside our classrooms in the schoolyard.
Even if the weather was terrible, we still got recess. Sometimes we got to go to the gym. There was basketball, foursquare and the dreaded dodge-ball. There might have been mats with balance beams, and some other things to crawl around on, or there might have been a stage where we could act like we were putting on a show. Sometimes we stayed in the classroom. Often the teacher would have planned ahead and we would have a fun activity that involved us all doing something with our hands while imagining with our minds.
I don’t have little kids anymore – mine are 20 and 21 now – but I sure hope that the little kids these days have the same opportunities that I had growing up. I hope they don’t just sit around texting and playing video games on their phones. It’s one thing to get outside and get some fresh air, but the exercise of the body and the mind are more important.