OK, so your kids don’t have opportunities for neighborhood play right now, for whatever reason. OK, you’re working on making this happen, but it may take a while.
What can you do in the meantime to get your kids playing outside without those silly miniature-adult uniforms? Here’s what San Francisco parents can do: send their kids to the Kids’ Outdoor Club.Set in San Francisco’s absolutely gorgeous Golden Gate Park, Kids Outdoor Club is a place where parents can drop their kids off on any weekday, school day or summer, to play unstructured games and frolic in the woods with other kids.
Scott Wilkinson, head of the Club, lives in a Playborhood in San Francisco, a cul-de-sac of 36 dwellings where 53 kids from ages 0-17 live. Still, he knows that his neighborhood is an exception, and even there, playmates aren’t always playing outside. So, his three kids, ages 8, 7, and 4, join him at the Club every chance they get.
Wilkinson started the Kids’ Outdoor Club in 2006 to get kids exercising, into nature, and away from the stress that has come to dominate kids lives these days.
Children from 2 to 12 frequent the Club, and Wilkinson and his colleagues do a good job of keeping all of them engaged and active. On rainy school days, only a few kids might show up, but on sunny school days, one or two dozen play at the Club. In the summer, the Club is like a summer camp, drawing dozens of kids.
Kids play games like capture the flag, chase, and tag, and older kids play pickup games of traditional sports like football, ultimate frisbee, and softball. In addition, Club counselors take the kids for excursions into Golden Gate Park’s abundant wild surroundings for hikes, tree-climbing, and boat rides on Stowe Lake.
Boyyy, I don’t know about you, but after hearing about the Kids’ Outdoor Club, I wished I lived in San Francisco!