Most children have hours of structured time in schools, starting already in pre-school where they focus on early learning, computer literacy, or using various in materials in one way rather than being play-centered. On top of it many children spend the rest of the time on adult-centered sport or enrichment classes. In between all the structured activities they manage to watch TV or movies, or play video games for a few hours a day. It doesn't leave much time left for free unstructured time to do what they want to do.
Only 10 years ago when my oldest son was in kindergarten, I saw the neighborhood children playing outside my house. It was often teenagers playing around with the basketball and they often let the younger children play too. Other children were outside with their bicycles or skate boards. I hardly ever see any children playing outside anymore, and if I see any children most of them sit around and do nothing. Children are kept indoors of fear, or they are constantly supervised, and the children are driven to their friend's house instead riding their bikes.
"The child's ability to pretend that a basket of pine cones is baby chicks one moment and apples the next reflects the child's fluid consciousness and is excellent preparing for reading, where written symbols represent something else." Pathways to Wellness Magazine, Issue 14.
The picture above shows Alex with a rock that he used for his dinosaur museum, and it is one of his dinosaur skulls.
Paola and Alex collected rocks in various shapes and pretended they were parts of dinosaurs, and they created a museum for us to see. They gave the rest of the family a guided tour with facts about different dinosaurs.
When we moved back to US from Europe several years ago we decided not to sign up to cable or satellite TV. It was only supposed to be temporary, but we noticed such a difference in our children that we made a permanent decision not to install it. We do have Netflix, and we also use hulu.com and i-tunes when we want to see something. It works great. There are no distracting commercials telling my children about the must have toys, and when the show is over it is over. There are no teasers about the program coming up next. Having no TV for several years has also improved my children's play.
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This post is linked to:
Seasonal Celebration Sunday, Eco-Kids Tuesday