The Alternative Playground

July 26th, 2012 Comments Off on The Alternative Playground


When I was a kid I remember hanging around outside our little house on Saturday mornings waiting for the other kids to come out and play.  Off in the distance I might see a bicycle spinning towards me and I would get so excited thinking it might be a kid that wanted to play.  Any kid would do.  Anyone that was relatively close to my age and was as bored as I was.

We were dependent upon the kids in the neighborhood or the kids we met at school to be our friends. Never mind if they shared any of the same interests.  Of course, I often found other girls that liked the same games I did or the same music.  But still, there were only a very few that I ever really clicked with.

Fast forward 30 plus years.

As I sit writing this post my kids are on Skype with kids that they met over the internet.  They’ve met kids from Canada, the UK, the US and Indonesia.  They love the game Minecraft and thanks to the Unschooling Gamers yahoo group, they have hooked up with kids that share their interest and passion for their game.


I’ve never seen kids more excited to wake up and hook up with their friends.  They can play any time of day or night and enjoy the company of a friend from some corner of the world.  They have learned so much geography since playing with these kids.  They are interested in finding out more about where their friends are from.

Listening to them play reminds me so much of playing on the playground when I was a child.  “Let’s build a pirate ship!” we would yell to each other, or “watch how high I can jump!”  living in the world of our imaginations.

I hear my boys doing the same.  With a friend each on Skype and the family Minecraft server running, they will yell at each other to “follow me” or “watch what I can do!”

They still have local friends and they still sit outside sometimes wanting to play with others.  But their options for finding friends does not stop there, as it did when I was a child.  Aside from pen pals, I never even dreamed of being close friends with someone across the world.  Now it is possible.  Now it is a reality for our kids.

They’re enjoying the world wide virtual playground and loving it.  I think I’ll go join them.



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