I came across the book “Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art” by Stephen Nachmanovitch. The opening of the first chapter: “ There is an old Sanskrit word, Lila (Leela) which means play. Lila may be the simplest thing there is – spontaneous, childish, disarming. But as we grow and experience the complexity of life, it may also be the most difficult and hard won achievements imaginable, and it’s coming to fruition is a kind of homecoming to our true selves”. I am sure we all can relate to this as we live our complex, urban lives.
Summer is here (we did not have Spring this year) and I can think of a million places to visit with Devam – water parks, playgrounds, farms, zoos, botanical gardens etc. If you live in NYC, you are likely to find a fun water park + playground in your neighborhood. There are at least 3 in Battery Park and they are all packed on a beautiful summer day. NYC City Department of Parks and Recreation have built an extensive database of parks in and around your neighborhood.
Also we should appreciate the efforts of organizations like KaBOOM – a national non-profit organization that is striving to develop great places to play within walking distance of every child in America. They partnered with Rockwell Group in New York to create Imagination Playgrounds all over the city. I took Devam to the Imagination Play ground in Downtown New York and it was hard to get him to leave after 2 hours of free play time. While I had to keep my eyes on him at all times, he had a great time.
Once your tot crosses the major milestone – turning 2 years old, most of us are comfortable letting go, I commend parents that have let their tots enjoy total free play early on, knowingly/unknowingly you have contributed tremendously to your child’s creative growth.
Let yourself and your tot free, make sure you take all the safety precautions and enjoy Lila this summer.