FAIR PLAY FOR CHILDRENNews
that play consultants are being introduced into British schools fills me with both a sense of sadness and nostalgia.Seven out of 10 parents used to play chase when they were at school, but now fewer than two out of 10 children enjoy the game. Over half of all parents (53%) used to play hopscotch, but only one in 10 of their children manage it now.
Conkers, along with other well-loved games such as hopscotch, chase, skipping, marbles and cat's cradle are dying out and are at risk of being "forgotten forever", it is claimed, as children opt for more "enticing and exciting" technology-based games, such as Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon and Gameboys.
Playing and exercising form a vital part of our education at school. Sharing, understanding, communicating and co-ordination are just some of the lessons children learn in the playground, and yet most schools tend to focus almost entirely on the classroom as a theatre for learning.
Here, in the over-crowded urban centres of Indonesia which are rapidly being filled with shopping malls, there are even fewer play areas than in the UK. So-called National Plus schools are built with a profit motive and few have an adequate outdoor playspace.
What is needed is a Fair Play for Children
campaign. If there isn't enough space then the city itself needs to be utilised, as in Toronto
.By breaking ... into the parts of the city we actually live in, urban games integrate themselves more fully into our experience of our environment and increase our ownership of our surroundings. By reminding people to visit and use areas of the city they might never otherwise pass through, such games are useful in helping people to think of their home as consisting of not merely their private dwelling or their neighbourhood but the city as a whole.
They encourage us to bravely strike out from our home neighbourhoods and see and use parts of the city in fun new ways they were never intended to be seen or used, giving us new angles and fresh perspectives on city planning and the borders between public and private realms.
Meanwhile, back at home, let's help our kids develop their imaginations with reading material which isnt merely advertising fodder. When we were children we had subscriptions to weekly comics. You can find a list of British comics here
although The Eagle
page, founded in 1952 by Marcus Morris,
has yet to be written up.
American cartoon and comic fans have Toonpedia
, an online encyclopaedia. I think it's a shame that Wiggles the Wonderworm
wasn't published in the UK.What put Wiggles in a class with Super Rabbit, Cosmo Cat and McSnurtle the Turtle was his magic word. Like that of Captain Marvel
, it would transform him into a brightly-costumed being with the usual powers of super strength, invulnerability and the ability to defy gravity
. But like that of Johnny Thunder the word was unknown to him. It was simply an ordinary utterance ("Omygosh"in his case) that he used reasonably frequently, making the transformation, from his point of view, just something that happened to him from time to time. A blow on the head would transform him back, leaving him with no memory of his time as Wonderworm.
Finally, consider that Jigsaw Puzzles
are what we used to do before TV, DVDs, shopping malls, chatrooms, 'play stations' and online gaming took over our free time.
Oh, and blogging.