Where have all the Kids gone?


I’ve noticed it before. Places that should be clamoring with exuberant little people are empty. Parks that would normally be host to yelling and laughing children are silent. Streets that should be bustling full of youthful bikers, chalk artists and jump ropers are desolate. My last walk around Gier Park I was strongly aware of the barrenness of its jungle gyms, swing sets, and baseball fields. Today for an hour I walked in a neighborhood that should host a multitude of children, yet it was shockingly without play. I saw a few older people working in the yard and one lady jogging by. That was it. Quinten Park? Empty. Elmhurst Park? Empty. I caught a glimpse of one girl on a bike but she was gone by the time I got to the corner. Maybe it’s the heat? This has been an awfully hot summer. Maybe everyone has just gotten trained into staying out of the over hot sun. Yet today, at 85 (a typically hot day in summers past) was quite pleasant given that we’ve had more days closer to 100 than not. Maybe most families are two income and the children are all away at day care or grandma’s house? Maybe they had plans out of town. Maybe they are cooling off at one of the local pools or water play areas. Maybe they are at the zoo. Maybe they are playing a game of hide and go seek, waiting for the perfect moment to spring from their hideout. I hope it’s something like that. It would be a shame if Lansing was losing its kids.

To see more empty parks check out my City Saunter Facebook Page
**Update to this post. As I was looking for some photos to post I went back through all of my months of walking. When I pass a park I take a quick photo of it. I tend to think Lansing’s parks are a huge asset. After rechecking those park photos I came to a huge realization that the majority of my photos of parks (20 out of 21) didn’t have any kids playing on them. WOW. I’ve rethought about my walks and unless I am on the river trail or part of some festival or event there really isn’t many people out and about. How could I not have realized that before?

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7 responses to “Where have all the Kids gone?

  1. So this begs the question… should we continue to invest in parks or something else?

    • It does! I used to get annoyed when I saw the parks being neglected. Now I’m not so sure. But I truly feel the health and welfare of Lansing resides in the health and welfare of the children there.

  2. We often see people at the parks when we take our daughter. Though, I think many families spend very, very little time outdoors anymore and I think the heat just makes that worse. I’d hate to see the parks disappear or stop being cared for, they are so important for children’s development.

    • I agree! I love that Lansing has so many wonderful parks. Maybe if families realize the parks are safe and them taking their kids there will help make Lansing even safer. We can’t all hide inside our houses! I know Hawk Island is usually full of people. Maybe people just like certain parks.

  3. Video Games. Cell phones. or Alien Abductions.

  4. I’m glad and sad that I’m not the only one that has noticed this. I thought the same thing a few weeks ago when I saw an empty playground on a nice day. I don’t get it? Are all the kids tied to their video games and TVs? Whatever happened to kicking your kid outta the house until it was time for dinner? I was sent out into the woods with my sister and my imagination. I can’t help but think this will create a negative impact on the minds and bodies of our youngsters.

  5. We often talk about the lack of kids at the beach during summer visits to Kensington Metropark (western Oakland County)…places that used to be full of families and teenagers while we were growing up are often empty, empty, empty. We were just out at Kensington yesterday…a Saturday on a holiday weekend…and found nearly no one at the beaches or in the picnic areas. I suppose stricter rules for new drivers may be one reason that groups of teens have more trouble getting out to the parks on their own, but I can’t think it’s the only reason.

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