I just went to a great talk by Mike Lanza about his book Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood Into A Place For Play. He is more strongly opposed to screentime than I am, but I thought many of his points about facilitating kids’ resilience, independence, leadership and fun by creating inviting playspace, building connections with neighbors and then sending the kids out to play are terrific ideas. I especially like how Lanza considers the lack of opportunities for kids do do things like a pickup game or other unsupervised play to be a social problem that all families need to think about and proactively work to change.
One of the positives Lanza mentions about cellphones is that they let kid have a longer tether from “hovering” parents. More room to roam. He sees the screen world/virtual world as taking too much away from the “real” world…but he also cited some examples of positive family time with technology as a basis for exploring the “real world.” My own orientation would be to draw the line between real and virtual worlds as a little more wavy…
My key takeaways were a) excitement that we already live in a “playborhood” with great neighbors and lots of community b) Many of the ideas about changing our physical space to encourage more independent play are do-able, and don’t have to be super expensive.
One idea that I love is a having a 1 week “block camp” to let all the kids on your block know each other. I could see that really taking off on our block. We already have a great 4th of July parade, and some other really nice traditions… I recommend checking out Lanza’s book and blog!