The best thing about springtime is how you can be active outside with your family and friends. One of the best places to do that is on the street, but kids in our communities aren’t doing this as much. What happened to building forts, making new games, and getting your hands dirty? StreetPLAY is part of Earth Day Canada and believes that creating outdoor places for kids to play is important.
According to Deb Doncaster, Earth Day Canada President, outdoor play is important to environmental education. “There is a new UBC study that says the more kids play outside, the better chances are that they will become an environmentalist.”
Things have changed a lot since our parents were kids. Deb says that today, kids don’t explore their neighborhoods as much. The average roaming distance for our parents when they were kids was ten kilometres. Nowadays, the average roaming distance is only 250 metres. This means that most kids can’t go to the local park on their own. StreetPLAY wants children and parents to stay safe in their community by offering a permit system so people can close their streets for play.
Superintendent Neil Corrigan, Unit Commander of 14 division, had some tips about safety for kids. He advises kids to be aware of their surroundings and of vehicles when playing on the street. “Playing hockey on the street is a really Canadian thing to do… but you have to be mindful that you share the road with other people…and don’t to forget to shout out CAR!”
Corrigan thinks that communities are safer when kids and parents play outside and know each other well, so they know what’s going on in their neighbourhood.
I also had the opportunity to speak to Ken Dryden—hockey legend in the 1970s. He talked about what he liked to do outside as a kid, and you guessed it, it was hockey! When he was a kid, his parents paved their backyard, just so that their neighborhood ball hockey games could happen. Ken also explained the benefits of playing street hockey.
“First of all, you are with a number of people. You’ve got to find a way of dealing with other people. You are your own referees. You’ve got to be fair with others you’re playing as a team, as well as just finding ways to deal with being behind in a game or being ahead in a game.”
There is nothing like playing outside of the street, whether it’s riding your bike with your friends or playing street hockey or throwing a frisbee. StreetPLAY wants kids everywhere to get out and enjoy the outdoors.