News from Bologna

Banned to ban kids from playing in the courtyard

The latest news from Bologna is a ban banning another ban. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? In short, from September 2021, children living in the city can’t be banned from playing in the courtyards of condos. Or any institute, for that matter.

What does the ban say?

The new rule allows children to play in gardens, courtyard, and any public area of private structures to play there. The only exception is during the hours of rest. Otherwise, no one can stop kids from playing outside. Why? Because Bologna’s municipality believes in the right of having fun, especially outdoors.

“It’s a rule of civility,” said local counsellor Andrea Colombo, “and it recognizes that girls and boys have rights. And they have needs that need space, also physical. Especially in the city and even more after the pandemic. Now it’s the right time to rediscover the outdoors and physical exercise.

To make sure that children can enjoy time outside, the rule also includes workshops and activities to raise awareness. While it’s easier and more profitable to create parking spaces, kids should come first. And, thanks to this news from Bologna, they just might. Just like Milan and Turin first, cities can become child-size.

The benefits of playing outdoors

“Don’t run in the mud, you will get dirty.”

”Don’t play in the courtyard, you might scratch your knees.”

“Don’t ride the bicycle in the puddle. It’s all wet.”

So, playing outdoors is risky? Or isn’t it? Experts and researchers suggest that these activities are full of benefits, both physical and mental. For example, nature and sunlight reduce stress and anxiety, which are common issues for children after the pandemic. Furthermore, kids develop social skills, encouraging them to open up to the others and making them feel less overwhelmed. Everyone of the kids’ relationships improves, from the one with their parents to the one with their peers.

Not only. In fact, playing outdoors allows children to develop a sense of independence. Contrary to what most parents might think, this is not a downside. Just the opposite. Children realized their limits and their possibilities, trying things out without fear. So, less fear and even less body mass index. But plus muscle strength and self-awareness. Hence, do get wet, dirty, and busy. It’s all fun and benefits.

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