What is play?
Running around outside? A type of video game? A performance with background music and a script?
Recently, a Ted Talk on young children and the affect playing had on their development offered much insight on the behavior of younger generations as well as my own. Children have lost their freedom to discover on their own and experience the world through their own eyes. Now, they are put in facilitated learning situations such as organized sports teams and art classes.
Now, learning how to play sports and draw is always a fantastic thing to do, but the point is that parents need to allow their kids to run free and play outdoors with no contrictions.
As the speaker mentioned, a child is like a young animal. They learn to respond to social signals and develop through self directed learning/playing. Adult facilitated growth puts a strain on their creativity and ability to think for themselves.
The main argument against this idea is safety. Most reasonable adults would never allow their children outside by themselves. Forget about the park, the front yard is too dangerous. New public safety measures or reforms should be enacted to ensure that children get the opportunity to play like they use to. These may include hiring “supervision” at public parks where, like elementary recess aids, observe and only step in when necessary. Schools should also consider leaving their gyms open at after school hours to create a safe environment for play. These reforms will help parents be less nervous when letting their children out, and also contribute to healthy self-growth.