Unstructured Play Time! Go for it!

It looks like all I’ve got time for these days is passing on links… Oh well…

Here’s another good one though, “The Genius of Unstructured Summer Time” on the New York Times site.  One of the things that irks me most about modern parenting trends is the need for constant curriculum – not just during school hours, but now bleeding into all available free time, early mornings, evenings, weekends, holidays, summer time… (As well as into the very early years of toddlerhood and infancy: witness expanding kindergarten hours, full-curriculum daycares, computer lapware for babies!)

What would unprogrammed time look like? Is it so bad that they might get a little bored? Learning how to entertain themselves might be one of the most useful skills they can develop.

We spend so much time trying to instill the love of reading in our children, but when the heck are they supposed to read for enjoyment when we keep them hopping every hour of the week?

The space and time to just think… that is where true creativity can spring forth. Dare we let them follow their hearts, in their own time and in whatever direction it leads them?


The Guardian: “Parental Supervision Not Required…”

This is worth a read – “Parental Supervision Not Required: The Freedom of Classic Children’s Fiction” by Sarah Hall in The Guardian.

Not without interest, though a bit obvious – “the heroes of classic children’s fiction enjoyed far less restricted lifestyles than kids do today. Is that why their stories still appeal?” Um, yes?

One wonders about future classic novels set in our time, in which young heroes and heroines must manage to have adventures within the confines of their own living rooms…

Strangely enough, the comments on this article are thoughtful and interesting themselves. (Now that is rare!) Apart from (presumably) elderly rants about today’s lazy parents plunking their kids in front of tv sets and computers, there are some very good points made. Namely:

1. re. Swallows and Amazons-style adventuring – kids never had that much freedom! These books were regarded as fantastical even when they were written.

2. the main reason that children are prevented from walking about unsupervised is not because of parents crazily paranoid about abduction, but because of the danger from motor vehicles – witness the sheer number of vehicles on the roads and the lack of skill and care of the drivers, not to mention road rage, cell phone use, etc. And no longer are there any really quiet streets. Even in my fairly child-friendly neighbourhood cars regularly roll through four-way stops and ignore the school crosswalks.

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