The magic of summer – outdoors

This is what happens when you get kids out from in front of the
TV and video games.

Instead of sitting home on the couch, feet propped up and a
PopTart in each hand, these kids got out, got some exercise and
gained an experience they’ll never replicate. And those of us who
tuned into the Little League World Series last week won’t forget,
it either.

I must admit a soft spot for the kids from Keystone Little League
in Lock Haven, Pa., my old college stomping grounds. I’m sure it
was more that, than my undying interest in baseball. It’s just not
my game and — here comes the part that some of you just won’t
understand — I think it’s pretty boring.

But Steve and I stayed up well past our bedtimes for straight
nights watching those 12- and 13-year-olds play. And, apparently,
over 160,000 people thought it special enough to drive to the
ballpark to see. If we lived a bit closer, I’m sure we would have
been there in person.

Kids don’t seem to play that much anymore, especially outside. Time
was when my Mom would have to come looking for me with a flashlight
— and she wasn’t in the game of flashlight tag that was going on
at the time. Do kids even play flashlight tag? They’re probably not
allowed to have flashlights; I’m sure there’s some hazard we could
cook up, exploding batteries or some such thing.

And these Little Leaguers were actually getting dirty… grass
stains and infield dirt ground right into those uniforms. How much
fun is that?

I’m not saying that you get your kids outdoors and you’ll be in
Williamsport next summer. (Well, you could go, the tickets are

But getting your kids outside — for unorganized fun — will mean
so much more. If you’re not a hunter, then just a walk in the woods
away from the electronics will open a whole new world to them. Let
them dig in the dirt, get their hands dirty, study insects or
mushrooms or wildflowers or newts. If you’re not a fisherman, get
them down to the water’s edge and turn over rocks, scout for
sunnies off a dock, identify the ducks that paddle by.

Sumner time can be a magical time to be outdoors and we’re running
out of that this year. The fall and winter has its own special
appeal — especially for kids, they don’t seem to mind the cold as
much as we oldsters do. Let them enjoy it before they cringe at the
words “winter storm warning.”

And who knows, you may find yourself enjoying the great outdoors,
as well. When was the last time you played flashlight tag?

Categories: New York – Paula Piatt

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