Play isn’t just something kids do for fun, writes Ann Hulbert on Slate. It’s something adults try to engineer for the good of the children.
“Promoting group synergy and innovation is the goal” of a “next-generation” playground being designed in New York City.
‘‘Play is not optional for kids,” (designer David) Rockwell told the New York Times, in an article announcing plans for the more free-form play area with movable parts, to be staffed by “play workers” trained to facilitate the best use of them; “play is how children learn to build community, how they learn to work with other people, it’s how they learn to kind of engage their sense of creativity â€¦ to understand that they can control their own environment.”
Well, not really. The adults in charge of the playground.
Children don’t spend much time outdoors, except for organized sports, reports the Washington Post.
Concerns about long-term consequences — affecting emotional well-being, physical health, learning abilities, environmental consciousness — have spawned a national movement to “leave no child inside.”
Few children spend time in “hiking, walking, fishing, beach play and gardening,” concludes researcher Sandra Hofferth. From 1997 to 2003, children spent more time playing with computers and video games and watching television, as well as sleeping, studying and (surprisingly) reading.
Hulburt thinks The Dangerous Book for Boys is aimed at “fathers eager to embrace a rustic vision of self-reliant and resourceful childhood that few of them actually experienced â€” and even more eager to believe that such a vision still holds an appeal for children, too.”
But would it be a bestseller if boys weren’t interested?