A Meek New World


Kids gyms

“A love of nature keeps no factories busy.”

When Aldous Huxley wrote those words in his practically prophetic Brave New World , even he could not have known how apt they would be today. Back in the early 90s, when the contentious Millennial Generation was cutting its teeth, the internet was not a normalized commodity, and the closest thing to the PS4 was your nerdy older cousin’s Nintendo. Cheap party places for kids were ubiquitously rented out by conscientious parents everywhere, and between these niche venues and many types of after school programs, the recommended 60 minutes of activity for children each day was being well met in creative and productive ways.

Today the landscape is slightly different. Children now spend an average of 7 1/2 hours in front of a TV or computer monitor a day-no not a week, a day. Mommy and me yoga classes have been replaced with bowling and fitness apps, dance classes for children with dance challenge video games, and toddler tumbling classes for smartphone-like attachable devices for strollers! Seen through the lens of child welfare and our national problems with meeting healthy physical activity quotas, our brave new world is looking very bleak.

The good news is we are in control, and not the robots we created (or even the ad men who have normalized our preoccupation with technological amusements). Cheap party places for kids and summer camps for kids are still a robust industry, but perhaps an interest in the outdoors must be awakened in your child, seeing as this stuff is not as pop culturally pushed as it once was.

For example, the top five summer camp activities offered at contemporary camps include: recreational swimming, arts/crafts, challenge/ropes, archery, and aquatic activities. It’s easy to see why these dynamic and exciting activities are popular-once begun. However, many children are never exposed to archery, not even in gym class, and have no easily accessible rope courses. The same goes for indoor children activities. Even the cheap party places for kids nowadays offer all kinds of theme parties that get children away from their computer monitors, like building a stuffed animal or messing around with pottery. It’s up to us to fight the screen zombie contemporary culture, and consciously expose our children to productive outdoor and indoor recreation. Their health, and therefore our future, depends on it.

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