Why Adults Should Play in the Woods
The retired science teacher jumped up from his hiding spot in his garden and grabbed my arm before I could escape.
It happened in the mid-1970s when I was playing a game we neighborhood kids invented called “Fugitive.”
Each summer night 15 or 20 of us would participate. Whoever drew the short straw was assigned to be the guard at the base camp.
Everyone else scattered into the woods. The goal was to touch a tree in the heart of the base camp before the guard could identify you.
We hid behind hills and rocks and crawled on our knees and bellies in the dirt and grass hoping to avoid detection.
That’s exactly what I was doing near old man Miller’s garden, unaware he’d been lying in wait for the lousy kids he accused of trampling his garden plants.
Mr. Miller demanded I take him home to my parents so he could lodge a complaint, so, unable to escape his firm grip, that’s what I did.
That old memory came back to me as I read about yet another study that found that because children are not getting enough exposure to “green spaces” or nature, they appear more likely to develop things like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
As any mother knows, this is scientific confirmation of the obvious.
For many years - until our kids’ minds and bodies became captives of the Digital Age - childhood play meant spending the summer in the woods climbing trees and building forts.