This routine from actor/comedian Jeff Lewis may be, simultaneously, the reason for the existence of Streetplay.com and our choice for “video of the century.” As Rod Serling would say, “submitted for your approval”…
It is like the Twilight Zone, isn’t it? No further comment from us other than, “Get out and play.” Thanks again to the ever perspicacious Lenore Skenazy for bringing this video to our attention.
We’ve mentioned Lenore Skenazy more than once here on our blog; here’s a video of her positing the idea that parents don’t necessarily need to get involved and drive their kids’ play, suggesting that it may actually be detrimental. After Lenore, a bunch of mothers you’ve never heard of chime in, agreeing or disagreeing based on their own experiences.
It would have been preposterous, at least for me or anyone I ever knew as a child, for parents to hunker down with us as we played stickball, skully, or anything else outside. That time was referred to as “going out to play” by parents and kids alike. We figured things out on our own, learned basics of fair play, wrote our own script for the day. And had fun.
I did play board games like Scrabble enough with my parents, but that’s not what I remember as “play.” What do you all think?
The latest thing in children’s play? The recess coach! This is a great listen from NPR’s Tell Me More program, featuring Jill Vialet (president and founder of Playworks), and NYC’s own Free Range Kids evangelist, Lenore Skenazy. Even Lenore, who scoffed at the idea at first (we’re guilty on that one too), sees some benefit beyond the knee-jerk “harumpfing.” This is mainly because no one is teaching kids any “actual reality” games to play anymore; the traditional way that kids learn games–from older kids–is going away because the older kids don’t know the games nowadays either!
Listen and decide for yourself… and remember that Streetplay’s Rulesheets are always there if you want: print them out and give them to your kids.
Many of our loyal readers are directed toward Streetplay because of nostalgia, wanting to recapture memories of the good old days, the simpler times. In fact, a lot of people adopt a crotchety, self-anointing attitude in this regard, a rejection of what “these kids today are doing” in terms of their personal time and entertainment.
A thought provoking piece was posted on LiveScience.com yesterday that has some significance and overlap with these sentiments. While mainly concerned with recent science and studies concerning the phenomenon of children who are bullied, a phrase stuck out in terms of Streetplay sensibility:
Unstructured playtime — that is, when children interact without the guidance of an authority figure — is when children experiment with the relationship styles they will have as adults.
Bullying is a serious issue that is becoming more apparent and reported in the mass media, and may actually reflect an increase in its occurrence in American society (instead of being the media’s “flavor of the day”). It begs the question: is the combination of hysterical, overscheduling, overprotective parenting (witness Lenore Skenazy’s Free Range Kids blog, sane reportage of the problem), combined with the rampant, time-sucking, physically isolating use of electronic media (witness the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest report on children’s media usage) a formula for creating socially dysfunctional, ready-to-be-bullied children?
All this just leads me to restate the Streetplay mantra: Get out and play.
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