by EHP on Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Children don’t know how to play anymore! They are over-scheduled, over-programmed, and are no longer allowed to traipse around the neighborhood, making up their own rules and inventing their own games. They suffer from nature deficit disorder and spend 90% of their time indoors. They lack independence; they have no free time; they are plugged in to digital devices and tuned out; they completely lack imagination, and creativity. And worst of all, we adults and parents no longer know how to allow children a proper childhood.
It could give a modern mother a headache: the predictions and prognostications about our children’s dire future, based on their soul-less present. But then, this modern mother thinks about her children's friends and her friends' children. Many are, in fact, imaginative, creative, and given to open-ended free play. She glances up from a magazine article describing the short-comings of modern childhood. She might see one of her children using a shoe to transport a stuffed tiger around the room. She might see another dressed in white furry slippers, a cowboy hat, and a silver cape as he fights space aliens. Or she could peek outside and see the teepee assembled from sticks by her children and the neighborhood kids, yes, with zero adult intervention.
Use of imagination? Check. Outside play? Check. Unstructured time with neighborhood peers? Check. The modern mother can breathe a sigh of relief; from her narrow vantage point, at least, perhaps its not really so bad as those dire accounts. She can cross her fingers that such unfettered play will continue, and she can then thank the many stalwart advocates for outdoor play, free time, independence and true childhood, including No Child Left Inside, Playborhood and Free Range Kids, and probably many, many more.