Doug Robinson: Kids have lost the simple art of play

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  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 29, 2014 9:31 a.m.

    @2 bits – “Tell President Obama about this.”

    OK, the next time we’re teeing off together I’ll let him know… haha.

    But yes, it sounds like the wrong direction to me too. You didn’t think I’m an Obama apologist who agrees with everything he does, do you?

    But as your last two sentence suggests, there’s likely some key differences in other areas between the U.S. and Finland and understanding them would require going deeper and beyond simple dichotomies like pre-school – yes or no.

    The answers should be data driven & pragmatic rather than ideological & party line sound bites.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    Tyler D,
    Tell President Obama about this. In his last State of the Union Address he said it would be his priority to have every American child attend a State run PRE-School (that means starting them in State run schools even before Kindergarden age).

    Seems like the Obama Administration is headed in the exact opposite direction of what you say we should learn from (Starting younger instead of older).

    And mostly because American mothers can't afford to stay home and play with and nurture their children for 4 years. So the State will have to do it for them.

  • Mike W Syracuse, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 1:57 p.m.

    While there is certainly something to be said for getting kids out playing and expending energy, and in general exploring their surroundings - there are plenty of benefits to the high end computer use - the kids who are learning to use computers, tablets and phones more are leaps and bounds ahead of others who focus on sports, which will almost certainly not benefit them beyond "teamwork" and the high school years (even though every parent seems to think their kid is the next NFL legend). Computer skills will be beneficial for real life jobs post high school - developers, graphic design, web design, administrative, accounting, etc. The key is finding some sort of balance between the two. Too many parents I see just let their young kids run wild, unattended, with no regard for others property.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 28, 2014 10:53 a.m.

    "Sadly too often this is no longer the case."

    Based on what? An over saturated media has made parents afraid of their own shadows. Most kids would prefer to play with other kids. We actually have an XBox and a PS/3… both of which are rarely used because we live in a neighborhood where the kids play together - a lot. And all these kids do participate in sports and extra curricular events as well. But on a given afternoon, or Saturday, our cul-de-sac is full of kids playing something.

    The problem isn't that the kids don't want to play…. but that making opportunities for your kids to play takes effort from the parents. It is a lot easier to let the kids play in the bonus room on a connected device, than it is to keep track of them while running through the neighborhood. It takes effort by the parents… not the kids.

    Its not the kids that need attitude adjustments… it is the parents who need to loosen up enough to let them play… and just be kids.

  • FLGirl Jacksonville, FL
    Jan. 28, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    “…and parents’ fears led them, ever more, to forbid children from going out to play with other kids, away from home, unsupervised.”
    This is especially true in a day and time when you can hardly allow your child to walk to the bus stop without fear of them being snatched away by some pedophile or harassed by the neighborhood bully. Kids used to be able to run around the neighborhood unsupervised to play until the street lights came on because the neighborhood was SAFE. Sadly too often this is no longer the case.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    We could learn a lot from the country with the #1 school system in the world – Finland.

    Formal education does not start until age 7. Prior to that, kids are encouraged to play as much as possible. Once in school, they have less homework than our kids, more recess, and no standardized testing.

    Teachers are trained to assess children on an individual basis, which given their class size (20 max) is doable. Teachers are also revered and paid better than here so the field often attracts the best and brightest.

    But it all appears to start with play…

  • Red San Antonia, TX
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    Great article Doug! I love it. You right on the mark

    "Adult-directed sports for children began to replace ‘pickup’ games"

    Youth sports have been Hi-Jacked by insecure adults who need to win at all costs.

    We have all these parents hyperventilating over their kids practices and being relentless with their expectation.

    Everyone is trying to get in their 10,000 hours so they can be the best because "winning isn't everything, it is the ONLY thing" blah blah blah.

    Hate for our fellow man is rampant. It is time to learn how to play and to get along again.

    Keep spreading the word. Carry on!