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Thread: Breaking News - Kids play for fun

  1. #1
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    Breaking News - Kids play for fun

    Why do kids play? Just because it's fun


    When I was little, my bedroom faced the front of the house. Our neighborhood swarmed with kids.

    In summer, the window always was open (we had no air conditioning) and I remember my dad liking to take naps there on long Sunday afternoons. Why? Because, he said, he loved so much to hear the happy sounds of the children playing outside.


    You know, that faraway/right there cacophony of children squealing and yelping and chasing and playing. So unstructured, so fun. A sense of innocence about it.

    That was at a time when parents literally said, "Go play in the street." At least mine did. We would play four-square and hopscotch by the hour on the quiet street in front of our Arlington Heights home. A car would come, we'd clear out for a moment, then go back to our game.

    Going out on a summer day meant not seeing or even checking in with my mom for hours and hours. We'd have to be home for dinner, then we could go out again until the streetlights came on.

    We'd roam the neighborhood in groups, typically on our bikes, no helmets (in fact holding onto the handlebars was considered sort of wimpy). We'd climb trees, build forts, talk about boys.

    We didn't know anything about the "science" of play. We just loved it -- and our parents no doubt did too. So, why did we play? Why not?

    Fast forward, and play is now very much a science. "Why Do We Play" was this week's New York Times Magazine cover story. Writer Robin Marantz Henig suggests that with all the research that has been done on why we play, the importance of play, and what may be the loss of play in our children's lives as structured activities encroach on free time, the answers may still not be much clearer than: We play because it's fun.

    Henig looks at studies suggesting that play prepares us for handling situations in adult life, helps to grow our neurons or teaches us flexibility. As one play researcher told Henig, play teaches children "all those necessary arts of trickery, deception, harassment, divination and foul play that their teachers won't teach them but are most important in successful human relationships."

    Henig also considers that scientists may be too eager to find a "reason" for play. Studies in animals are clear that play drops to almost zero when they are under stress. In humans it diminishes under chronic stress, though it rarely disappears. Even during the Holocaust children found ways to play. But children can survive, even survive well, without much of it.

    As Henig puts it, such findings "make evolutionary scientists prick up their ears. How can a behavior be crucial and expendable at the same time?"

    In fact, some researchers are beginning to think there is, particularly in the West, an idealization of play. They question the "play ethos" or the "unexamined belief that play is an unmitigated good with a crucial, though vaguely defined, evolutionary function."

    In the end, according to Henig, while so much is being done to research play, scientists simply disagree about the purpose and ultimate importance of play.

    I think they may be looking too hard. Maybe scientists and parents have come to overthink this. I for one fall on the "play is important for kids; don't take away recess or plop them in front of a computer" side of the aisle. But what if it's really not that scientific? So what? What if play is just ... fun?

    What if for all of us, adults too, it's most about finding moments of joy and innocence in a fallen and complicated world?

    Come on. Let's not take everything so seriously. Let's at least be a little more playful ... when it comes to play.
    http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/b...hart22.article


    Great research there. Glad they are on top of things, and spending our tax money.

  2. #2
    Elite Member TonyT's Avatar
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    I guess these researchers never really believed it when a clown told them that "all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy". These are the nerds who refused to sit on Santa's lap until they were 14 yrs old.
    No one has any right to force data on you
    and command you to believe it or else.
    If it is not true for you, it isn't true.

    LRH

  3. #3
    R.I.P. 2018-07-16 RoundEye's Avatar
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    …. Going out on a summer day meant not seeing or even checking in with my mom for hours and hours. We'd have to be home for dinner, then we could go out again until the streetlights came on.

    We'd roam the neighborhood in groups, typically on our bikes, no helmets (in fact holding onto the handlebars was considered sort of wimpy). We'd climb trees, build forts, talk about boys….

    That’s basically how it was for us. Even had a guy, Keith, that talked about the boys a little too much. We knew he was different, but he remained one of us in the click. This is before we really even understood what the word “homosexual” was.

    And, unfortunately before medical science understood what the AIDS virus was, it killed Keith in the early 80’s.
    Sliding down the banister of life ..........................

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoundEye View Post
    That’s basically how it was for us. Even had a guy, Keith, that talked about the boys a little too much. We knew he was different, but he remained one of us in the click. This is before we really even understood what the word “homosexual” was.

    And, unfortunately before medical science understood what the AIDS virus was, it killed Keith in the early 80’s.

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