by Meghan Raftery, VBCPS parent
Jude Raftery, student at Strawbridge Elementary
Life for a kid today is quite different than it was for most of us parents. While our kids may be way more connected to the world through their devices, they are also less social in many ways. My family lives in a welcoming and active neighborhood, but with busy work and school schedules and afterschool activities, it is sometimes difficult to stay connected to other kids.
There are not many benefits to a pandemic and stay-at-home order, but one silver lining for our family has been a return to the kind of play we remember from our own childhoods. Our pace of life is slower so the kids are playing outside more, inventing games, using sidewalk chalk and riding their bikes. They are using their imagination, creating things out of cardboard and playing board games.
The activities that stand out in my mind from my own childhood are making a comeback- although with a twist because the kids can only play with their own family members. Our sons love playing with their older cousins, but because of social distancing they resorted to a game they called “lava ball” where they threw fake balls of lava at each other into the yard instead of traditional catch. They also like to talk to the other neighbor kids through the fence, telling knock-knock jokes and asking each other questions.
I wondered if my son was noticing the same changes I was so I asked him a few questions about it. Jude is a first grader and a man of few words, but he did share the following:
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Jude and I am 7 years old. My house is green. I live with my mom and dad and one brother.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like to watch my iPad. I like to play games and watch people playing a computer golf game on YouTube. I like to play with Hotwheels and play football.
How has playing changed for you since school was cancelled?
I used to play a game called Foxtail with my friends from school. Now I play with only my brother. Sometimes I talk to my neighbors through the fence. Once I played pretend catch with my cousins in my yard.
What did your mom play when she was a kid?
My mom played on the monkey bars, sliding down slides and swinging on a swing set. She also liked to roller skate. Most of her friends were in her neighborhood.
How is your playing the same and different from the way your mom played when she was a kid?
I also have a slide, but I don’t go on roller skates. Most of my friends are from my school or in my family.
It was refreshing to hear that Jude does not seem to notice much difference in his life before and during the current crisis, but I suspect his memories of this time will be quite vivid. I hope when he is asked about what life was like during this time, he is full of stories of talking through the fence and playing lava ball, despite missing school and his friends!
“When Schools Are Closed” is an ongoing guest column that anyone in the VBCPS community may contribute to. If you are interested in writing about how the school closing is affecting your daily routine, please contact Sondra Woodward in the Department of Communications and Community Engagement.