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Published: Sunday, 6/2/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

TOLEDO MAGAZINE

Get outdoors for low-tech, high energy activities

BY ROSE RUSSELL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Siblings Wren Rausch, 8, right, and Lucy Rausch, 6, left, race down the sidewalk in front of their house on Princeton Dr. while playing outside on May 22, 2013. Siblings Wren Rausch, 8, right, and Lucy Rausch, 6, left, race down the sidewalk in front of their house on Princeton Dr. while playing outside on May 22, 2013.
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Remember when children played outside all the time?

They busied themselves racing around on bicycles, tricycles, scooters, and roller skates.

They played hopscotch, using colored chalk to create squares, rectangles, or triangles on the sidewalk or driveway.

They made jumping rope a poetic form of art, with a pair of kids often twirling two ropes at the same time while multiple jumpers bounced to rhymes.

Sultry days have been few so far. But when they come, youngsters likely will languish and complain that they are bored even though there are plenty of options available to them.

If there is nothing to play on in your backyard, there are monkey bars, sliding boards, cross bars, and other equipment in many of Toledo’s more than 140 neighborhood parks. That doesn’t count the playgrounds at Swan Creek and Wildwood Preserve metroparks in town.

Royce Jackson, 3, walks down the slide while playing outside in Walbridge Park on May 22, 2013. Royce Jackson, 3, walks down the slide while playing outside in Walbridge Park on May 22, 2013.
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Why not blow bubbles or play with yo-yos? Does anybody play jacks or shoot marbles? Somebody must. YouTube shows how to do those and some other activities.

Sometimes children find something outside and simply make believe. Take 3-year-old Connor Andrews of East Toledo, who seemed taken recently with a 6 or 8-foot-long stick. Under the watchful eye of adults who let him play with the tree branch for a while, who knows what Connor was thinking as he lifted the stick above his little head, almost as if he expected an imaginary audience to know that he was now in charge?

It’s a different world now, where television, technology, and endless computer games sap youngsters’ time. Sadly, that trend has given rise to myriad social issues, with childhood obesity at the center of them.

But there’s so much for children to do to keep busy and active. Aside from organized sports and costly activities, all children and their parents have to do is to put away the gadgets and put their imaginations to work.

Contact Rose Russell at: rrussell@theblade.com or 419-724-6178.



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