Saturday, August 25, 2007

Great Podcast on Children and Play

Here is a great show on Connecticut’s NPR radio show “Where We Live” which broadcasted earlier this week about the nature of play of children, the importance of group children’s play, playgrounds, and playgrounds for children with disabilities, a plea for school recess for children of all ages, and more topics are covered.

It is a very good show. I agree everything they talked about!

The first part is here.

I think that the issue of children and play is a vital part of childhood development. This is a topic that parents should know about, this issue of play being vital to the development of a child’s emotions and personality-wise. Sadly, as was mentioned in this radio show, some parents think of outdoor play or the games or activities that require physical exertion now as either ‘obesity prevention’ or a ‘method to weight loss’. Children’s play, gross motor type play goes way beyond exercise for calorie burning or for maintenance of a healthy heart. There is much more to the nature of children’s play than just moving one’s body in order to raise the heart rate or to exercise the muscles. Sadly some parents think of a child’s mind as requiring academic content to build the intellect and they think of play with physical activity as way to stay thin or to lose weight. Children need to play for many more reasons, for emotional growth and socialization purposes.

In this piece they also mentioned children using electronics and living in a 'blackberry age' where their lives are very scheduled and where most if not everything they do is organized and planned by adults and overseen by adults.

Regarding homeschooling I will say that we homeschooling parents need to make time for children to play and to socialize. We should all be making an effort to allow our children to play in large groups not just playing with one, two or three other children, and not just having them play only with their own siblings. I also feel that the homeschooled children should be allowed to direct their own play not be ordered around by the supervising parents as they are for the rest of their entire childhood. While at the playground with a large group of homeschoolers I let my children decide what they want to do and how they want to do it, along with the other children. I don't see the need to control their play at the playground!

It is importatnt that children play with other children in an unstructured way. It is important that children play in groups not just playing at an organized game such as soccer or baseball with a coach or parent directing everything. Old-fashioned games like tag and Capture the Flag serve a purpose and all children, schooled and homeschooled, should have opportunities to play those games.

Please consider taking some time to listen to this interesting show.

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1 comment:

Lostcheerio said...

Totally agree on the time for unstructured play -- not sure about the large groups. I find that one or two other likeminded children (with likeminded parents) works better than a big group, at least on a regular basis. My kids are still pretty young though (7 and 3).