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Who's Fun? Who's playing?

Who's Fun? Who's playing?

The Unknown's picture

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary play means, "to do activities for fun or enjoyment" (Merriam Webster Dictionary 1). Though this definition sounds positive, I wonder, "Who's fun? Whose enjoyment?" Ally begs the question whether or not there should be a limit on play.

 When parents are more involved in their kids “play” does this give their children advantages or is it better to set few boundaries on a child’s play? This is often connected to how much a parent trusts his or her child and the environment that the child is growing up in. When children’s play is strictly organized is the child’s creativity not being used or developed as much as it should be? How much of children’s originality is innate and how much is acquired, developed, and enhanced by one’s surroundings?

 To me the limit on play lies with the participants. Sometimes people are bullied, left out, excluded or hurt when the majority of people in a group are "enjoying" themselves. Where I draw the line between play and harm is whether or not someone or something is being physically, emotionally, or mentally afflicted. Sometimes this occurs after two or more people were playing.

The minute one person does not feel comfortable; he or she is no longer playing. The game has ended and something else begins. Unfortunately this line can be difficult for children to understand and be aware of. Problems often arise because someone did not "mean" to do something or a person got to involved in the competitiveness of a game or activity.

Play often changes into something else, normally a power struggle, when children decide there should be a leader or there is a set of rules each participant needs to agree on. What these rules are, how strictly they are enforced, and by whom are they enforced can sometimes change a playful environment into a destructive, gruesome, unsafe space.

I want to continue exploring the power of play. Are kids just trying to have fun or do they have other overarching goals in mind? Are they only enjoying themselves when they are participating in “their” play? How much do our cultures, backgrounds, and histories influence how people play, what they enjoy playing, and how willing they are to try playing in a new way?

In class and in the readings, play is exalted and seen as a positive and necessary part of a child’s life. No doubt the authors make good arguments for why this is true, but what else can be introduced in play? Are there downsides to play that can be damaging and destructive? Oppression perhaps? What about the idea of the infusion of a dominant, invading culture into an already existing thriving culture? Could this also occur through play?

Where does one draw the line between “positive” and “negative” play? Does this line exist?

Works Cited Page

"Play." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 6 Oct. 2014.


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