Every day, my 5-year old son asks if he can ride his bike. Rain or shine; straight off the school bus, and often way too early on weekend mornings. With the training wheels off and his helmet on, he’s ready to go.
Lucky for us, this is possible. We may live in a chaotic city of 10 million, but our quiet street is a welcome oasis – a dead end lane with just 10 houses and 20 other children to play with. The older kids all attend different schools, but usually gather when they get home – riding bikes, swimming, playing at each other’s houses, exploring tropical backyards, and visiting the “farm” (a.k.a community garden) at the end of the road. It’s a pretty ideal set up for our family.
With its crumbling sidewalks, crazy traffic and lack of parks, Jakarta isn’t known for its public green spaces or outdoor culture. Although there are plenty of family-friendly activities here, a lot of kids spend much of their free time indoors – in cars, malls and air-conditioned play areas. I don’t know of any public playgrounds or parks near where we live, which makes us even more grateful to have safe outdoor spaces at home.
The many benefits of outdoor play are well-documented, contributing to physical and cognitive development, emotional and social well-being, creativity and imagination, a sense of community, and (more…)