Some Thoughts About Play Around the World

I have noticed that kids in Scandinavia are allowed to play in freer ways than in the United States.  For example, in one elementary school that I visited in Norway, kids were climbing trees, and they were really high up – I was very concerned for their safety.  And yet the teachers seemed perfectly at ease with this.  In Iceland I saw kids playing on these gizmos that involved hopping onto a tire and zipping along this clothes line looking apparatus.  I’m sure something like that would not be allowed in our litigious society – it would be a law suit waiting to happen.  I’m going to be presenting on September 7 and 8, 2010 at the Annaliese Schools in Laguna Beach, California, and I was glad to read on their website that they endorse “mud play” at their schools. They noted that mud play was especially helpful for kids with behavior and emotional problems.  I just want to say hip-hip-horray when I hear things like that going on in education in the United States. Messy play is good play.  I was traveling in Asia and had a layover at Narita airport in Tokyo a few years ago and while I was wandering around I happened to notice a “play room.”  Initially I thought this was a great idea – having a place to reduce the stress of traveling through play.  But when I went in all the kids were playing video games – there wasn’t anything else in there for them to do but be a high-tech zombie.  I’m afraid that’s what a lot of people have come to accept as play in our society, but it isn’t play at all – it’s crap, and it’s turning our kids into robots.

About the author

I am the author of 16 books including my latest: The Myth of the ADHD Child: 101 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion (Tarcher-Perigee).
4 Responses
  1. WOW! I am having a wonderful time reading various articles on your webisite. I grew up going to public school, I was quickly labeled as “dislexic” and really struggled to learn anything. I finally discovered (WITHOUT the help of teachers or parents) ways that is easy for me to learn, and have developed many talents. My husband and I have desided to homeschool our children. We are going to use the, multiple intelligences, method. Thank you for having this website. I am finding it helpful, and interesting.

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