I received product and compensation from Claritin to write this post. All opinions are my own.
There was no better experience as a kid than flying out of the door to play outside with siblings and friends. Running freely up and down the street, playing Red Rover, hopscotch, double dutch, or one of my favorites – walking to my neighborhood Boys & Girls Club. Growing up, the “club” as it was so affectionately called, was a gathering space for all of the neighborhood kids, and also a space that my father and his siblings frequented when they were kids. While I no longer live in that neighborhood, I am following the train of thought, that getting kids outside for stretches of time is one of the most important things you can do for them.
Truth be told, I attended two Boys and Girls Clubs. One in my neighborhood, and another in the neighborhood where I attended school. I played softball for that particular Boys & Girls Club, pitcher – thank you very much, while MY neighborhood club taught me things like the proper frequency in which I needed to yell “YOU’RE IT” so that folks knew that there was a new kid to steer clear of. I field tripped, and made new friends. It was a wonderful option while we were growing up in a household with two working parents. While I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t worry about us getting into trouble, because of things they had in place, they DID worry about us not having things to do outside of cleaning a house. I mean, I was the oldest, and usually, whatever I got to do, my siblings were able to participate in as well. My brothers used the club at a deeper level than I did, but the fact that it was always there was something that provided comfort during my grade school and high school years.
One thing I didn’t do was worry about allergies. I’m not sure why, but I was one of the few children during that time that wasn’t plagued with itchy eyes and runny noses during the long summers that we yearned for. My kids aren’t so lucky. Nathaniel and the three littles suffer from allergies – the watery eyes, itchy noses, and sneezes for days. It keeps them from wanting to go outside, and we ALL suffer. Have you ever tried to get kids to go outside when they are miserable? The day is sunny, the breeze is ample, and the weather is perfect. Instead, you’re listening to sneezes and snorts, and the blowing of noses. I don’t know about you, but that’s not music to my ears.
Chicago had its first 70+ degree day recently, and we took full advantage of it. I loaded all three scooters into my trunk and headed to our nearest park. While I know you’re wondering why we couldn’t walk there, it’s simple, little kid legs, and mom weight. See? Too much for ALL of our little legs to handle, so drive we did.
We were able to play in the park, have scooter races, and walk through a butterfly and nature trail, that hadn’t sprouted yet, but was serene nonetheless. We have garden work to do, but this was our way of playing hooky from it, before the weekend. The kids shed their winter frame of mind and submitted to the sunshine and freedom that the first warm day of spring provides. We weren’t going to worry about allergies either, because we came armed with our Children’s Claritin just in case we needed it.
Exploring with the kids also pulls me out of a funk of being a work from home individual. Getting outside for 20 minutes a day may be important for children, but I’d go on record and say that it’s JUST as important for those of us who have been claimed by adulthood. Staying indoors hunkered over a computer may be a way to earn a living, but some days, you just need for the sun to hit you in just the right way, to re-ignite the joys of childhood. Being challenged by my children to a quick race through the park, or soaring on the swings to shrieks of glee totally rewires the way that I think about the joys of staying home with them.
The 20 Minutes of Spring Project is a part of year two of a three year partnership between Claritin and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where Claritin has committed up to $500,000 to fund programming and create resources to help get kids outside. Given the way we felt after our jaunt to the playground after the extended freeze that we’ve had, I’m a firm believer. It didn’t take much though. Playing outside is one of the simple pleasures of childhood, and it’s important that we cherish these moments as best we can.
While I’m prepping for this season in our community garden, and more days of play with my children, I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to take time and feel the sun on my skin and bask in the joy that’s a 70 degree day. We’re pushing it though if it goes over 80* I have standards.