Boys my son’s age (11) seem to think video games are always going to be more fun than anything outside. It’s like they’ve forgotten all the other things they like to do
We have to remind them – and play with them – the kinds of chasing games, hide-and-seek, climbing, tossing, and moving games they loved when they were younger. I think we have to play too, to kind of kick-start them into remembering how much fun real-life, outdoor games can be. And to connect with them.
The fact there aren’t enough unstructured boys in neighbourhoods to make up two baseball teams and give the traditional pack kind of bonding that boys in older times seemed to thrive on may be part of the reason why so many tween boys are inside, even on sunny days.
The black-and-white, all-or-none nature of most boys’ toys, books, games, movies makes it easy for them to forget all the other things they like to do. And makes them forget how dynamic and intellectually challenging real-life situations are.
We have to help them remember but not in a nagging way – in a playful and inclusive way – bearing in mind not what we think they should want to do but really tapping in to their desire for fun, physical, challenging, and yea – even combative play (for which our foam swords have been life-savers).