Kids: free play and their imagination

While driving in this morning, I was listening to NPR and heard a segment talking the Mickey Mouse show that first aired something like 50 years ago, and how they figure that moment and everything after it has changed lives of children and how they play. Clearly, I’m leaving out a lot of details but am busy at work and just can’t remember all that …

But what I do recall was that they identified that before then, child’s play involved the kid’s imagination immensely, since it was more about the activity than the toys involved. The kid used things as the props for whatever they were doing. Now the toys direct the activity.

My sentiments have been that I’d rather the kids not have so much toys. I really don’t have a lucid rationale as to why – but this kind-of explains it a bit for me. I do agree that I’d rather them come up with their own activities – or at least not have toys that restrain them to using it in a single specific manner only. I never really noticed it – but I do rather prefer their toys that aren’t so specific – you know ones where they can do all kinds of different things and let their imagination run a little bit more freely. Like art stuff, lincoln logs, legos, tea sets, etc. Playing outside or going down to a park. I’m sure that at times it’s probably not so great that I’m a little (some might argue on my wording of “little”) controlling over this, but I’m quite sure that as they get older this will change and I [hope] will release a bit.

My hope is that we are encouraging their imagination to run wild a bit more though. I remember as a kid playing in the woods a lot over the summer. Playing around in a tree (and falling out of it once) that must have had at least 10 years worth of kids nailing wood planks onto it. Building dams in a little stream a lot. Petting the horses. Man – my brother and I (along with some of his friends) even made some “movies” (well, 5-10 minutes long but to us they were definitely movies) back there. Mind you – this was private property and I definitely was not supposed to be there (and was run off a few times by the owner). Definitely not “safe” by anyone’s standards (c’mon … I fell out of a tree!), especially now.

2/28/2008 UPDATE: This morning I listened to another NPR segment relating to this segment – I won’t comment [at least yet] about that content, but I did hear what URL to go to about it (and maybe the segment I wrote about above): NPR – Your Health. I will assume that soon enough references those segments won’t be there, so maybe I should just directly link to some in the Your Health section right now. So here’s a few to ponder on:

Oh and if you’re into this sort of stuff, and want to add another feed to your feed list – here’s NPR Your Health RSS feed

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