When my son was around four years old, after researching homeschooling for a while, I landed upon Charlotte Mason. I was excited to start “school” with my little one and wanted to know what I could do. I was shocked and a little disappointed when I read that the best thing I could do was have my child spend hours outside. At the time I had a baby, a toddler, and a 4-year-old and spending hours outside did not seem easy. I would much rather sit in the comfort of my own home and make sure everyone got their naps. I would send my kids in the backyard or go to the park from time to time; but I did not spend the hours recommend of outdoor time.
Recently, I was listening to a podcast and there was something mentioned about the need for young children to have an abundant amount of time to play. The two women then began to discuss whether it made a difference if that playtime was outdoors of indoors. One women then proceeded to say that she did not believe it was more virtuous to play outdoors, than to play indoors. This really made me start to think and question. Was outdoor playtime more virtuous?
As a homeschooling mom, my main goal of education is to get to my children’s heart, not merely to fill their heads with intellectual facts. What is the point of education if it does not spur a love for God and virtuous living in all things. The goal of education truly is to lead us to better worship of our creator and to holier living. SO, is there virtue in outdoor playtime?
Currently, we have been getting outdoors more than we used to. I believe physically it is a good thing. Being outdoors has my children get their energy out, it gives us physical exercise, and the benefits of vitamin D. But above all being outdoors allows us to experience God’s creation.
Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw everything he made and it was very good.” To see true beauty and goodness is to reflect on what God has made. A.W. Pink says in his book The Attributes of God, “Thus the ‘goodness’ of God is seen, first, in creation.” God has given us eyes to see the goodness of what he’s made, a nose to smell the beauty of trees and flowers, ears to hear beautiful songs from birds and the rustling of the leaves, and a mouth to taste fruit and vegetables. Romans 1:20 tells us, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.” God’s workmanship of his creation leads us without excuse but to worship.
So do I think there is more virtue in outdoor playtime than indoor playtime? Well, I do. If we want to lead our young children to truly see the goodness of God and to be without excuse but to worship him,then we must bring them outdoors. If we as adults want to experience the goodness of God and be led to worship, we must get outdoors. Nothing man can make or has made compares to the goodness of what our creator has made. All art or things that are made by human hands are just mere reflections of what is first hand.
May we be willing to leave the comfort of our home for a little each day and take our children outdoors and show them the beauty of our creator. May we stand in awe of God as we use all five senses to truly experience what he has made.