Every children need space to grow up and express themselves. One of the way to do it is by playing game. As a 1980s generation, I played many “traditional” games when I was a child. Most of them were played outdoor. Since I was a born until age of 7, I lived with my parents in my grandmother’s house. The house was large, it was 400 square feet. I could play anything without needing to go outside my house. At that time, my parents were not allowed me to play outside my house because there were so many motor vehicles around the street. My house was located near Jalan Utan Kayu, where many vehicles passing by.

Because my house was quite large, I could play anything inside. I used to play hide and seek with my brothers and friends. Other activities that we did was playing on the swing. I remember that there was a rambutan tree in my house. One day, I decided to make a wooden swing set by using rope and triplex. I tied the rope to rambutan tree and put the triplex as if it was a chair. Besides rambutans tree, we had guava, mango, and starfruit tree. My other activity was climbing trees to eat fruits. When I was hungry and my mother hadn’t finished cooked, I climbed a tree and ate fruit.

Unfortunately, in December 1990, the house was sold and we moved to Pondok Gede. There, we rented a house for 1 year until finishing our own house construction. The house was located in an alley, well, not a small one but it was safe to play outside. What I did in my leisure time was playing “benteng” with my neighbors, Reni and Ricky, who lived in front of my house.

A year after that, we moved to our own house. I had new friends and did lot of activities outside. I could said that every day, from 4 to 6 pm, I went to a small court to play badminton, basketball or volleyball, and sometimes football. If I didn’t want to play outside because of one and other reasons, I played monopoly or chess. And sometimes I played football with my brothers in terrace. Besides playing sports, I also caught guppy fish (in Indonesian : “ikan cere”) in gutter.

How about now? Well to be honest, I almost never seen children playing traditional game. Perhaps the main reason is the effect of modern games such as PlayStation and gadgets. I wouldn’t say that they are useless but in my opinion, children should spend more time outside the house.

Other factors that trigger this situation is lack of open space such as parks. For example, how many property developer that commit to provide park for residences? And how many public parks built by city government? I remember a scene in “Garuda di Dadaku” the movie. Some boys played football in a cemetery because there are no football field near their house. It’s a sad reality, isn’t it?

Some experts said that there’s a growing evidence that park environments play a unique role in promoting stress and alleviating stress. It has been shown that communities without parks, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas, have unhealthier children. Research indicates that communities without parks and playgrounds often lead to sedentary children and stressful lives.

Well, now it’s the time for city government to rethink about the future of children by fulfilling children’s right to play, by giving them access to open space. Parents also should encourage their children to do healthier activities.

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