Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I have been thinking, a lot, about the nature of play. I have been thinking that free play and free choice have all but vanished not only in the lives of children but in the lives of all of us.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." Plato

The American obsessions of success as defined by academic achievement and financial earnings have turned childhood into a revolving door of obligation with no true return. The climate of litigation and fear that permeates our culture has squelched true creativity and all but eliminated risk from activities.

As usual, Europe is way ahead of the curve in noticing this trend and doing something about it. It is slightly ridiculous that there now need to be companies that consult about play, but at least someone is thinking about it. Click around on this site: PLAYLINK, expecially the photo exhibition. Many of the articles are thought provoking , my creative juices are certainly flowing.

"Play is equal to formal education in terms of its fundamental role in enabling children and young people to engage positively with the complexities of the world around them."
PLAYLINK Play Policy

Today we organized a group to run amok in a fantastic park. In other words, we went out and played! We ran, screamed, jumped, hid and ended the day with Capture the Flag.

It is fun to play, it is important to play, it is necessary to play. I think ths is what I was meant to fight for--so much to think about.


Bonnie said...

In a weird coincidence, just when I had this post open my friend who I'm talking to over IM asked me about webcomics - "What about people who can't make a living off of it, why do they keep doing it?" I pointed out that's like asking why people would play soccer in a park even if they can't play in the World Cup, which he seemed to understand better, but not totally.

So many people seem to think an activity isn't worthwhile unless it brings you money or some other material reward. I don't understand that at all. I live for FUN! :)

Eluciq said...

Oh Jen...I wish we lived closer...

Play is the essential ingredient to a happy life...and I believe it doesn't stop once childhood is over!

That link is amazing...wowzers!

You will have so much fun fighting for play spaces...and you will be good at it!

Lake said...

Is this park in the Madison, WI area? If so, would you mind sharing which park/area it is?

Lynch Family said...

Yup, right here in Madison! Quarry Park:,+madison&fb=1&split=1&gl=us&cid=10199117875538647568&li=lmd