For generations of kids in New Jersey, as was the case around the country, when they came home from school, they couldn't wait to go outside and play. It was the case for my generation. When my kids were young, it was hard to keep track of them between the time they came home from school and dinnertime. Yes, we ate dinner together every night.

Today it's rare in some neighborhoods to see kids outside. You see occasional kids on bikes more these days than before the pandemic. They realized there's only so much you can do inside the house. But it's rare to see kids playing in suburban streets like we did when my kids were growing up. There was always a pick-up basketball or street hockey game going on somewhere in the neighborhood, sometimes in multiple spots.

These days it seems rare. When we were young and even for most of my kids there were no cell phones. Our parents had to trust we'd go where we were allowed to go and come home on time, or close to it. Now that we have devices that can track their exact location in an instant, it seems they're rarely out of the house or the driveway. We've made it so comfortable for them to stay home, many of them are missing one of the true joys of childhood and building blocks of growing up.

Going out to play in unstructured venues and figuring out what to do, where to go and where not to is part of a normal childhood. When I saw both a hockey net and basketball hoop in front of a house, it looked so rare, I had to take a picture. Who knows how long that will even be around. Maybe pictures like that should go into a time capsule. Hopefully, all that time stuck in the house has given kids more of an appreciation for going outside to play. Fingers crossed.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis Malloy's own.

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