It was a day of fun in the sun that took its own route, away from screens and into the inviting shores of the lake.
A dead creature isn’t the first thing that comes to mind as the perfect toy for my son. Or, even the last, to be honest. But on a recent day trip with some friends, three older kids in the troop found a dead three-inch long fish on the beach and immediately snatched it up, marking the beginning of hours of fun.
The kids picked it up, dangled it in each other’s faces, ran with it, tossed it and eventually resorted to making a small grave for the poor thing, in the sand at the edge of the lake.
And when foraging in the reeds turned up someone’s tossed, uncracked coconut (of all things), this was lovingly added in, to mark the spot as a sort of tropical paradise island for tiny lost beings.
Was it what I expected? No. We’d gone out for the day to have some fun paddling around, taking turns in boats on the water. We weren’t looking for fish at all. What the environment presented though, while pretty gross, was a reminder that no toys and a long afternoon in nature is often really what kids need.
Here’s the thing: no one complained on the beach that there was nothing to do. No one said they were bored or that they wanted to go home. And there was no tablet to be argued over.
Experts are begging for governments to get kids to return to being their healthy selves, and not develop into overweight Internet/screen addicts.
A large part of this could include a return to nature. It’s cheap, simple and nourishing for the immune system, soul and mind.
Does it need to involve dead minnows? No. But anything that includes coconut “cookies” topped with green algae icing sounds like an interesting path to try.