DOGS, especially, love to fetch and carry sticks, chasing them, propping them up between their paws to snip away at the shoots sprouting from the main branches, peeling the bark away, sharpening their teeth on the smooth, hard grain.
Strong National Museum of Play. Just when parents are struggling to afford high-tech gadgets, there's an inexpensive option - even free! According to Patricia Hogan, curator at the museum, in order to be inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame, a toy must be "part of the lives of many kids, preferably over several generations." Thus quotes Allison Ross in her article posted on the Children and Nature Network site.
This morning, national newscasters reported dire predictions of hundreds of store closures during this Christmas season, an unprecedented occurrence during the busiest shopping season of the year. But perhaps this curtailing of consumerism isn't a bad thing. Less consumption of goods means less usage of the earth's resources, and hopefully MORE USE of the things we already have. Perhaps we'll see more families playing in the park, or walking in the woods. Perhaps more neighborhood kids will team up to build snowmen, gathering stray sticks for arms, snatching a carrot from the fridge for a nose, wrapping that tattered scarf around Mr. Snowman's thick white neck.
(Page is a Senior Associate with the Children and Nature Network. To learn more about this grassroots nonprofit that sprung up as a result of Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, go to http://www.childrenandnature.org/.