The best intelligence test is what we do with our leisure.
Laurence J. Peter
Our Heritage of leisure, recreation and play has roots deep in our government infrastructure. Not just here in the US, but in most countries world-wide. This is not a post about a political statement (Heaven forbid!), but rather a reminder of the debt we owe visionaries who set aside public lands and leisure spaces for all of us to enjoy.
Although the first sandlot opened in Boston in 1886, the playground movement didn’t begin to develop until the mid-1890s, when playgrounds were opened in nine major US cities. The playground movement in America began as an answer to the industrial revolution realities of crowded cities and long work days. This idea sought to save poor, immigrant, and homeless children from unhealthy crowded tenement neighborhoods. The reformers believed that “supervised play could improve the mental, moral, and physical well-being of children.” Bachrach, J. “Playground Movement.” Encyclopedia of Chicago.
Think about how you engage in leisure on a daily basis…
When was the last time you took your kids or grandkids to the local neighborhood park and played on the equipment and swings?
Did you enjoy your backpacking trip on the John Muir trail in Yosemite National Park?
How about that cool dip in the YMCA swimming pool?
I could go on all day. The point is our leisure heritage is alive and well.
Next time you visit a national park, a public playground or any other leisure space, say a quick-thank you to these visionaries: Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, Jane Addams, or Steven T. Mather, among many.
I know school is out for the semester but the leisure educator in me can’t stop extolling the virtues of living a healthy leisure lifestyle!
Remember, May is National Water Safety Month!
Have a leisurely weekend!