Balanced and Barefoot Blog

Outdoor play and the unrestricted freedom of movement-based programs are vital for children’s cognitive and physical development, and help ensure that kids grow into healthy, balanced and resilient adults.

Posted on December 4

A Case for Space: Easing the Mind of the Anxious Child

Angela Hanscom

Angela Hanscom

By: Jenna Trumbull We have all known that child. The one whose parents spend every morning convincing them to come. The one who spends the day with tears in their eyes, quietly observing from the sidelines. They become overwhelmed and shut down when they have to participate, and they have constant “sore tummies” or headaches. […]

Posted on November 12

“Occupational Therapy” in a Way That Makes Sense

Jade Rogers

Jade Rogers

By Jade Rogers Jade is a pediatric occupational therapist and the director of TimberNook Elgin in Ontario, Canada. She talks about why she feels TimberNook is a form of occupational therapy and what lead her to this program in the first place. Learn more about Jade’s work at TimberNook Elgin here:  When I first became […]

Posted on January 30

Rough and Tumble Play – Develops Strong & Capable Children

Angela Hanscom

Angela Hanscom

By Angela Hanscom Three young boys and two girls scramble up a large dirt hill, almost in unison. One boy gets to the top first and screams, “King of the hill!” Another child laughs and playfully pushes the boy aside, “No. I’m king of the hill!” Each child takes a turn trying to be king […]

Posted on April 1

Why Are the Playgrounds Empty?

Pam Lobley

Pam Lobley

By Pam Lobley This is a playground in the middle of my busy, family-centered town. Where were the kids? Yes, there are often moms or nannies here with little children: babies on swings or toddlers dashing around. But school aged kids are mostly absent. This depresses me. First of all, there is nothing that lifts […]

Posted on April 18

The Case For Recess – Why We Need to Bring Back Free Play

Angela Hanscom

Angela Hanscom

By Angela Hanscom Are children’s physical and mental health and recess related? You bet. Recess is important. It’s the opportunity for children to move their bodies, make new friends, and jump into imaginary worlds. If done correctly, recess can be an invaluable component to fostering healthy child development and creativity at the same time. However, […]

Posted on April 14

Sample Letter to Superintendents – The Case for Recess

Angela Hanscom

Angela Hanscom

By Angela Hanscom Sometimes we forget the role that recess plays in developing young minds and bodies. Schools are busy places, and teachers are busy people, so it’s not surprising that recess is often the first thing to get cut or taken away as a form of punishment. In order to offer sensory-rich recess opportunities, […]

Posted on March 30

Why Walking Laps at Recess Time Isn’t a Good Idea

Angela Hanscom

Angela Hanscom

By Angela Hanscom I was in the middle of feeding my baby boy, when the phone rang. “I need your help,” the person on the other line said. It was an old friend of mine. “Our school is making it mandatory that the children walk laps during recess time.” She went on to tell me […]

Posted on November 9

How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Helps Children Find Their Voices

Becky Bowen, M.A. CCC-SLP

Becky Bowen, M.A. CCC-SLP

By Becky Bowen, M.A. CCC-SLP I had a fantastic summer, because I got to spend it at camp. As a speech-language pathologist, I was interested in not only what the campers were doing at TimberNook, but what they were saying as well The benefits of free play in the great outdoors are well-documented: gross motor, […]