Today is parent-teacher conferences in our school district, which means kids get two days off from school. We'll scoot right on by how in my day, we got one afternoon off, tops, and now these younglings are getting entire days.
We do camps on no-school days. Often, it's a very structured thing. Half-hour increments. Lots of guided activities. Goal setting. They're good camps, if I do say so myself.
Today, though, I'd been thinking about Last Child in the Woods. So what did we do? We played outside. We...
- Dug in a mud puddle.
- Dug a trench to turn that puddle into a stream.
- Built a dam for the stream.
- Explored a riverbed.
- Did a scavenger hunt for things like the smoothest rock or the twistiest branch.
- Learned a little about stinging nettles.
- Lay on the grass and looked at clouds.
- etc., etc.
I could see in the students how important (and probably rare) that time was. We had fewer arguments, more enthusiasm, better teamwork. And we had FUN. I'd forgotten how great it is to play in the mud.
I wouldn't do this sort of thing every day. The structure is important (not to mention a prime selling point). But once in a while, we will be doing this again.Thanks for listening.