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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

LET THE CHILDREN PLAY!



In the 50 and 60's when I was growing up, we played a good deal of our spare time. Often we played outdoors, making mud pies, making houses in Dad's shed. These houses were not only homes to us, but often were hospitals, churches for weddings, and shops.

Play was often quite physical with the customary games of tiggy chasey, hopscotch, skip jump and marbles and jacks. At school play time we made houses out of stones in the playground. We re-enacted shows on TV such as Flash Gordon and Jet Jackson.


When my children were little, they played similar games to us and I encouraged them by playing with them and making cubby houses for my little girl, Sonia. She would spend many a happy hour making me cups of tea and serving them to me in her tiny china tea service.


Her brother Mark often would jump on her cubby house, trying to fly like Superman, a tea cloth tied around his neck. Sonia and Superman would often have a falling out! And later on they were joined by their brother Greg and sister Dianne, getting a ride on the back of their older siblings' trike with the little trailer on the back.

I can still remember with fondness my older son's patience with his baby sister as she toddled up to his cricket bales, knocking them off for the hundredth time, chuckling as he replaced it. She obviously thought that he was doing it for her amusement. They were happy and healthy times.

Today, I have noticed a shift in play. Children don't seem to have much imagination. They get bored easily and need constant stimulation. One child in our family needs a DVD to watch in the car because she gets bored going out and about... bored? I can well remember our fights to have the window seats when Dad borrowed a car for our once a week outing. Everything was exciting!

We had an imagination that came from a natural curiosity with the world, not through constant stimulation of TV, DVD's and computer games.... There aren't even a lot of children out playing with new bikes and toys in the streets on Christmas morning like days of old. They are too busy being entertained by cyber games and computers. They are getting old and fat before their time.

I saw a documentary recently that said that we must return to the old ways of play, for in them children gained insight to how things worked, and became socially skilled. They learnt many skills both vocal and social and learnt how to co-operate and how to assert themselves without resorting to fighting. They became more confident.

It also found that children who were denied the chance to play with other children or outdoors, lacked the social skills and motor skills found in children who played in the old-fashioned way.

Recently, I have been minding my grandchildren and I have been encouraging them to play out of doors. They have been having a great time riding their scooters, digging in the builder's sand, making mud pies and generally behaving like *children*

It has been good for them and fun for me too. Hearing their laughter reminds me of their mother Dianne and my other now grown children playing as youngsters and it is comforting to know that I am doing them a service by letting the children play.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Zechariah 8:5 

8 comments:

  1. Amen!!! I've always had strict rules about 'screens' with my children. I grew up in the 70s(and a bit into the 80s) in a family where, even when Atari came out with their home consoles, we couldn't afford it. Mud pies on the back patio, bike rides, hikes to the creek, blanket tents and the like... these were my pass times. On rainy days I played dress-up or drew up travel brochures using markers, paper and the encyclopedia set on my bookshelf for information. When my children were young we took a cross-country trip and my husband insisted on a DVD player for the car, so I broke down and bought one.... but I only let them use it in the long flat stretches of land and never with back-to-back movies. If we got somewhere interesting, I made them turn it off and engage their surroundings playing eye-spy or discussing what was out the window. And we never used the DVD except for these loooooong road trips (2 days minimum driving). I always felt it was more important to engage the world and be adventurous through it. When we took out to spend almost a year doing missions work on the road, my kids had one little shoe-box sized bin for toys. While traveling they used our old warn out socks to make sock monkeys and discarded clothes from thrift bins they used to make clothes for their monkeys. They made board games out of boxes and played hide-and-seek in the churches we served. No one understood just how they occupied themselves because, it would seem, too many people now-a-days can't fathom life without a t.v. or smart phone! Something is sadly and certainly missing in many children now-a-days. The good Lord hasn't blessed me with grandchildren yet, but when he does, I plan to teach them the old fashioned ways too... although I think my children have treasured their own experiences enough to teach it too!

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    1. I think we had the best childhood and gave our children the chance to know the richness of life without being constantly entertained... Thanks for commenting today, Amanda.

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  2. Yes, a habit that is fast giving way to paid classes and technology. I believe that a good dose of boredom brings out the imagination in all of us. I think I will take the advice myself as well, get off of the computer and seek some good, old fashioned activity instead! Have a blessed day!

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    1. I must try to do the same! I am thinking of going back to knitting and crochet... or going to get some books from the library! Thanks for commenting today, Margaret!

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  3. Amen to this! Children are forgetting how to play and are just being entertained... So much is lost in this! Thanks for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth!

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  4. Good morning! Just a little note to let you know this article was featured today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth. Have a lovely week and thank you for joining us :)

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