Just recently, I signed up to a group in Facebook. They are made up of families who intend to meet to let children play outdoors. The moderator asked a question: “What’s your best memory of play as a child and what made it your favorite?” Suddenly, memories of my own childhood came in. I was daydreaming… and I was smiling!
Anything we played during rainy days topped my list. It was a sure win! I remembered we lived in a house made of banana leaves. We had a variety of food made of dirt and torn leaves. Our house was positioned beside a clean river (or gutter), where we sailed our yacht (or paper boats in real life). We experienced bathing in the rain, playing fun Pinoy games like syato, tumbang preso, mataya-taya, langit-lupa, football, tagu-taguan, and my ultimate favorite – patintero (and a lot more!), and exploring nature with our friends. Picking up dried leaves, catching dragonflies and releasing them afterwards, digging dirt to see where the earthworm went, and making bubbles using gumamela flower and leaves. We were always looking forward to going outside after breakfast and after we took a nap in the afternoon. I had to pretend I slept or I wouldn’t be allowed to go outside.
The daydreaming stopped and here I am today realizing that we don’t have the same surroundings. There are fewer trees to climb on; canals are not clean as it used to be; and oftentimes, children are not allowed to go outside for many reasons – whether due to busy schedule or fear of dangerous people. Nowadays, I rarely see children playing the games we knew and enjoyed.
I joined the group in the hopes that my children will still experience playing carefree outdoors. I don’t want them to miss this stage where they can be just a child and hope that they’ll also have a beautiful story of their childhood to share with their families in the future.