Bare feet are the BEST! Sandy toes, dew from the grass, heat from the pavement . . . phenomenal!
Not only does it feel amazing, but it is HEALTHY! Bare feet helps your immunity, posture, foot health and even can change the way you think! Being barefoot keeps you connected to the earth and aids in better body awareness. In addition, you receive 'feedback' from the ground and adopt a natural gait.
Dangerous? Probably not . . . Risky? Maybe . . . A danger is something that can hurt someone, a risk can still be harmful, but is something that can be assessed and understood. Walking barefoot outside can be risky. You or your child could step on something sharp - a rusty nail, broken glass, or, perish the thought . . . a needle. Or you may live in an area with creatures that do not allow for this.. So yes... assessment should be thought through and if the scenario is dangerous rather than risky, pick a different spot to throw off your shoes and socks! However, most "risky" scenarios can be TAUGHT and avoided. Show your children what to look for and explain why it could hurt them. Please, please don't let it stop you from enjoying the world beneath your feet!
I grew up walking barefoot through spear grass and over one inch gravel. I rode my bike barefoot and fed the chickens barefoot. My husband, not so much! He grew up more urban and didn't get the opportunity to harden his feet. He is repeatedly shocked at what my feet can handle and has committed himself to hardening his soles. Our three year old constantly out-does both of us and almost ALWAYS chooses his bare feet! (and his "tummy-out", but that's a story for a different post! :P)
Rocks and sticks. That is what my answer is, every time I hear or read a parent asking what outdoor "toy" they should get their kids. Outdoor toy ...?! I scratch my head and try to think, my kid has never had any!! Why...? Because they are unnecessary and take away the creatively, imagination and limitless ideas natural play has to offer! So...rocks and sticks it is!
One of my sons, go-to activities, is to throw rocks in the water! And, who doesn't like to chuck rocks . . . !! Not only is it cathartic, but educational too! I took my little guy to the lake and throwing rocks, skipping rocks, watching rocks sink .... consumed hours of time. Laughter, science chats and thoughtful expression won the day. Rocks and water, it NEVER gets old! Adults, teens, kids and even babies, all enjoy the satisfaction of tossing rocks into the lake! (or pond, or ocean, or creek ... or even the bathtub!) Next time you are wondering what to do, take a little journey to throw some rocks in the water!
Happy Adventuring! - Victoria