I grew up in the suburbs. I grew up playing outside in the grass, hoping to see butterflies, and enjoying the company of my neighbors.
Today, I took my first period class of 9th graders outside. Our school has a grassy area off the side of the building that is rarely used. I didn't entirely have a plan for the period I thought I would just let them hang out. Several children thought I would make them do work outside. Many wondered what we were going to do. I had told them they could do "whatever". If they wanted to sit and "do nothing", they could.
When we got outside they just stood there. They were afraid of what might be lurking in the grass. (Really???? It's NYC in a GATED area! The worst they would encouter would be a few ants.) Anyway, one child screamed as if she found a murderer when a beautiful yellow butterfly flew in front of her. Others begged for things to do. So, we played Red light, Green light, 1...2...3... One child had never played "that stoplight game". Others suggested we play duck, duck, chicken. (Most of us know it as duck, duck, goose.) By the time they relaxed enough to enjoy themselves the period was over and we had to go inside. We might need to do this more often! I hate to think of what these kids aren't learning in school!