Thursday, January 09, 2014

the need for real play...

An article in the Huffington Post, sent by a reader, J.D. asks, "Have American Parents got it all backwards?" Read it, I  think you will agree that children should be whittling with knives, climbing trees without being nagged by overwrought parents about it, and allowed to build and bike, and have experiences making their way safely in the real world without constant display of parental angst.

I am intrigued by the play equipment shown in Jean Lee Hunt's Catalog of Play Equipment from 1918 because instead of showing fancy apparatus you can buy, it shows equipment you can make, including saw horses and sliding boards, that the kids could imagine making for themselves. These things are delightful, and rather simple in comparison to the kinds of play equipment that children are provided in backyards, parks and preschools. And you can imagine modern parents having conniption fits over the lack of safety rails.

One of the favorite pieces of play equipment at Clear Spring School is a big plastic barrel, that the kids get inside while others roll them around the play ground. My sisters and I had one similar in our yard and had endless fun until the cardboard sides broke down. The one at Clear Spring School has proven indestructible. Now-a-days, play equipment is designed for safety, with all the imaginative qualities built in so the children need to supply no imagination themselves.
The book suggests that in giving children toys, they should be simple ones leading the children to make toys of their own design and from their own labor. Makes sense to me.

What a nation of fools we have become, that in the name of sheltering our kids, we would deprive them of growth.

Yesterday, I spent part of the day putting drawer pulls and lid lift tabs on jewelry boxes.

Today I'll be editing chapters and taking more beauty shots... I also have a bit of time planned for the wood shop.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to a most interesting article.

    I actually find that when my boys are going to use a tool that can be potentially dangerous, they respond very well to a small talk about how to use the tool safely.

    Both of them know that they should stand with their legs apart when using an axe for splitting wood, and that you should whittle away from yourself.

    I find that when children are allowed to use tools like these they keep on taking it very serious. It is like they understand that they have been granted a possibility because they have shown that they can manage the responsibility that is connected to this tool.