Tuesday, March 29, 2011


What happens when you leave my children unsupervised?
They build things!

One of the things I have notice more and more of as the years go by is that our children don't have much unstructured time. And the unstructured time that they seem to lack the most is unsupervised outdoor time. 

Don't get me wrong. I understand that it's a different world we live in today. I know that there are lots of awful things that can happen. I know that some of us may have experienced some of the more unsavory aspects of being left alone too much and want to protect our children from that. I will even admit that there are times that I worry about how they're getting along out there. I'm sure that there is more arguing than I want. 

But I'm only 200 hundred or so yards away. If they want to come tattle then they can.

That 200 yards seems to keep the unimportant bickering out of my arena.
That's nice.

I happened upon this structure on a walk. I know that the children play at "The Hole" a lot. I didn't know that they were building teepees. :o)

They have their own little play system out here. 
It cost me nothing.
It took none of my energy.
It doesn't belong in the world of adults.
It uses only natural resources.
It took cooperation.
It took creativity.
It took creating a plan.
It took persistence to carry it out.

It probably involved several disputes.

But it also involved working them out.

Without ME.

I think that this is a sign that they're going to be alright. 
They make me want to pull my hair out some days with their bickering.

But if they can pull together and BUILD something.....
without adults there to mediate and instruct.....
without a book to show them how.....
Then maybe I have managed to teach them something after all.

My goal has always been to give them the tools to do things for themselves.

It's the reason they have chores. It's why we send them out into the wilds to play. It's why we try to make them responsible for themselves, their siblings, and the animals we care for.

I may not have perfect children....but I think they're going to be awesome adults.:o)

The structure may be small....
But the implications are HUGE.:o)


umbrellalady said...

Bravo on allowing your children to realize themselves through their own devices! Too many parents over-structure their children's lives and it shows in their lack of confidence.

MamaWestWind said...

Awesome! What a cool structure they built!

Anonymous said...

Love it! What a cool teepee...and equally cool kids!

Penny Miller said...

Loved doing things like this as a kid. Wonderful to see your kids enjoying the outdoors and using their minds creatively.