I play a lot.
I like to play.
I value play.
"LA County Okays $1000 Fine For Throwing FootBall, Frisbees On Beaches"
If It's not Broken, Don't Fix It.....It's Broken
I think about play a lot. Most lately I think about it a lot because of being the primary educator to our daughter who we home school. So I think about it in regards to her and her learning and development.
Which is how and why I ran across and am incredibly interested by articles like this...
How children’s ‘play’ is being sneakily redefined
"by Alfie Kohn
* Children should have plenty of opportunities to play.
* Even young children have too few such opportunities these days, particularly in school settings.
These two propositions — both of them indisputable and important — have been offered many times. The second one in particular reflects the “cult of rigor” at the center of corporate-style school reform. Its devastating impact can be mapped horizontally (with test preparation displacing more valuable activities at every age level) as well as vertically (with pressures being pushed down to the youngest grades, resulting in developmentally inappropriate instruction). The typical American kindergarten now resembles a really bad first-grade classroom. Even preschool teachers are told to sacrifice opportunities for imaginative play in favor of drilling young children until they master a defined set of skills."
You probably get where this is going. I have read a lot of stuff by Alfie Kohn and for me the jury is still out on much of what he says and how he says it, but it does get me thinking.
But my daughter is 13 and not in "school" so I don't have to deal with the issues Kohn speaks of.....
Recognizing the need for playgrounds, former President Theodore Roosevelt stated in 1907:
City streets are unsatisfactory playgrounds for children because of the danger, because most good games are against the law, because they are too hot in summer, and because in crowded sections of the city they are apt to be schools of crime. Neither do small back yards nor ornamental grass plots meet the needs of any but the very small children. Older children who would play vigorous games must have places especially set aside for them; and, since play is a fundamental need, playgrounds should be provided for every child as much as schools. This means that they must be distributed over the cities in such a way as to be within walking distance of every boy and girl, as most children can not afford to pay carfare,
When my daughter still was at the "right" age to play, she and her home school pals used to get in trouble regularly for "misusing" the equipment. They would run too fast or climb too high or jump from it. or...just not play on it the "right".
It wasn't the home school parents who were reprimanding the kids, it was security guards and park officials.
As a result of what some experts say is overprotectiveness driven by a fear of lawsuits, playgrounds have been designed to be, or at least to appear, excessively safe. This overprotectiveness may protect the playground owner from lawsuits, but it appears to result in a decreased sense of achievement and increased fears in children.
The equipment limitations result in the children receiving less value from the play time. The enclosed, padded, constrained, low structures prevent the child from taking risks and developing a sense of mastery over his or her environment. Successfully taking a risk is empowering to children. For example, a child climbing to the top of a tall jungle gym feels happy about successfully managing the challenging climb to the top, and he experiences the thrill of being in a precarious, high position. By contrast, the child on a low piece of equipment, designed to reduce the incidence of injuries from falls, experiences no such thrill, sense of mastery, or accomplishment. Additionally, a lack of experience with heights as a child is associated with increased acrophobia (fear of heights) in adults.
The appearance of safety encourages unreasonable risk-taking in children, who might take more reasonable risks if they correctly understood that it is possible to break a bone on the soft surfaces under most modern equipment.
Finally, the playground that is designed to appear low-risk is boring, especially to older children. As a result, they tend to seek out alternative play areas, which may be very unsafe.
Risk management is an important life skill, and risk aversion in playgrounds is unhelpful in the long term. Experts studying child development such as Tim Gill have written about the over-protective bias in provision for children, particularly with playgrounds. Instead of a constructed playground, allowing children to play in a natural environment such as open land or a park is sometimes recommended; children gain a better sense of balance playing on uneven ground, and learn to interpret the complexity and signals of nature more effectively.
What about Me?
I need a place to play too?
Remember, It's My Blog and It Is All About Me
So many playgrounds look like the plastic safety zone thing and don't have stuff adults can use or would want to. But every once in a while you find a park that has some really cool equipment and stuff, but.....
And going completely unused.
This playground rocks and would be fun for kids and adults.
It also looks really cool, like stuff you would want to play on, or climb or jump from.
we get this stuff, which is right down the hill from the "play" area.
Not only was this not here when we lived across the street from the park, it is too small for me to use "properly". I have to bend my knees to hang from either apparatus.
I Want to Play