Outdoor Kids: Tag and Rolling Down Hills

Sometimes the simple pleasures escape us, but get my kids outside, and they’ll start reminding me. “Mom, let’s play tag.” It was those four words that my son spoke on the morning of his fifth birthday, when we decided to have a quick, picnic breakfast before camp started.

First, it was freeze tag. Then it was hide-and-seek freeze tag. “What’s that?” I asked. My seven-year-old was excited to explain it to me.

“Well, we hide. Then, you find us and once you find us, you have to chase us. If you tag one person, he freezes, then the other can unfreeze him. If you freeze both of us, you win.”

A couple games of tag got us warmed up quickly and me winded. I saw a small incline on the side of the playground by the school. “Hey boys, that looks like the perfect hill to roll down.” Their eyes lit up. “Me first!” yelled my older son. I can’t remember how many times they rolled down the hill, but there was a lot of giggling and smiles.

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After the second or third run, my older son said, “Mom, you’ve got to try this!” I took a deep breath, and said, “ok.” Dizzy is not my thing; I used to love it when I was younger, but something has changed since then. However, I couldn’t pass up an enthusiastic invitation from my seven-year-old to join in his fun. Thirty seconds of dizziness was well worth the hysterical laughing while rolling down the hill.

This past weekend, my newly minted five-year-old had a grander idea of rolling down a hill. During a visit with friends to a kids’ playscape in the Pennsylvania woods, we discovered that our admission included a ride down a ski slope inside a giant inflatable clear ball. Filled with just a bit of water, you slide (instead of roll, thank goodness) down the mountain. My son, grinning the whole way, helped me learn to experience something new with joy instead of fear.

But, we don’t have to climb in a big clear ball to have great family time outside. It’s amazing what no-cost fun is available to us at any time: play tag, roll down a hill, climb a tree, or make up a game. These are the staples which are available to us at anytime. As a family, you’ll have more fun with your time together and create memorable moments outside, every day.

Rebecca P. Cohen is Founder and President of Rebecca Plants LLC, is a gardening and outdoor lifestyle company that inspires families to be outside and improve their well being. For her weekly online video series, “Get Out of the House” as well as Starla J. King’s guest blog series “Savoring Summer,” visit http://www.rebeccaplants.com.

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Published: July 30, 2009