The Idle Parent: We Play in the Field and Forests

This is the eleventh part in a series of discussions regarding The Idle Parent Manifesto, which can be found in Tom Hodgkinson’s book The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids. Need to get caught up? You can do so here.

We play in the field and forests.


River Road Park

As I read this passage in The Idle Parent, a lightbulb went off:

“The best places (to play) were the places we had discovered ourselves.  We played in the margins. We didn’t need adult-designed playgrounds”

There’s a lot of discussions about playgrounds these days, and rightly so.  This passage reminded me that no matter the type or condition of our nearest playground, we do have another option: just being outside.

You don’t have to live in the country or the suburbs to enjoy “the field and forests.”  This photo was taken in a city park (with a run-down playground).  The kids had no interest in the playground.  But this ravine that was surrounded by great rocks for throwing and giant wild onions for picking?  It captured their attention and imagination for the better part of an hour.

Wild Girl with Wild Onion

A giant tree, hills to conquer, rocks to climb, free space to roam … this is all you need for a satisfying outdoor adventure.

Geocache Tree

The best part about skipping the slides and just playing outside?  It’s never the same playspace twice.  Go ahead and show the field and forests some love.


Do you ever venture away from the playground and into the field and forests?  What do you like to do there?



  1. We go to Richey Woods a lot around here and we love to go play in the stream at Ft. Harrison. My dream when we when the lottery is to be able to buy a huge property with lots of wooded areas and a stream somewhere and an old house that’s already been renovated and updated to my liking… When I was little we lived near some woods and we would disappear for hours in there, it was awesome. Hopefully when my kiddos get bigger I’ll be okay with them wandering off out there at my parents’ house like I did… (although, I hate to say it, it already makes me nervous!)


  1. […] publishing the last Idle Parent post (“We play in the fields and the forest”), I heard from a few readers that being outside just isn’t their thing.  It struck a chord […]