Gail Carroll is passionate about getting kids outdoors which is one of the reasons she started My Cubby.
Gail justifies why Australian parents should invest in a cubby house for our kids:
1. Kids are learning whilst playing in their cubby houses
“Shhhhh … don’t tell my kids, but while they are happily playing and laughing in their cubby, they are actually LEARNING! Our kids have a little toy cash register, which is flat out working as Paul and I are constantly buying sand coffee and food (or my personal favourite – mud and grass pie) from our Cubby Cafe. The kids use pretend money and they now recognise the numbers on the money and coins. When we pay, we often need change so the kids LOVE working out how much the shop keeper needs to give the customer back. “I only have $5 shop keeper, and my sand coffee was $2 – what change will you give me “?
It’s brilliant watching their faces as they work it out, and hand over the correct change.
Please don’t tell them they are learning though. I would hate our Cubby Cafe to shut down – where would I go to get my favourite mud and grass pie?!!”
2. Kids need a digital break
We need to be able to switch off the screens and encourage kids to get outdoors and play with nature. Being outdoors teaches kids about respecting their environment, gives them space and freedom to move, boosts motor skills, social skills, spatial skills and encourages cardiovascular activity.
3. Kids learn to use their imagination
Kids use their imaginations by engaging with the outdoor environment. Cubby houses provide the ability to make decisions, imagine, problem solve, take risks, use their five senses and learn from mistakes.
4. Kids need unstructured play
Having a play area in your backyard allows for unstructured play.
Play is a child’s work. It’s how they grow and learn to be their true selves. They need simple, unstructured play time and down time to develop their own thoughts, interests and skills.
Children’s lives are so busy these days, especially during the school term when they have not only school but homework, sport and extracurricular activities. School holidays are meant to be a break. This includes taking a break from routine and outward stimulation.
5. A cubby house means quality family time
A cubby house in your backyard means your children will want to spend more time outside in their cubby. While your children are still quite young, you will spend time outside to watch, supervise and play them. This starts a good practice of you spending time outside together. You will also find that even if your children are a little older and capable of playing in the backyard unattended, you will naturally start to spend more time outside with them – even if that just means sitting on the back veranda while they play, you are still outside with them. This is easy and natural quality family time.
When you are in the backyard with your children, they can call out to you and chat incidentally, they will run back and forth to ask questions or tell you what they are up to. This is much better and enjoyable for the family than you all silently watching television in the lounge room!