the value of play

Compare the first two photographs and guess who is having the most fun.  Notice that the tools being used are real tools, not toys.  The only concession to childhood is the size of the bench.   The Project Gutenberg is the source for photos and extracts from A Catalogue of Play Equipment published in 1918 by the US Bureau of Educational Experiments.  I particularly love the outdoor equipment section of this book compiled by Jean Lee Hunt.  Sadly, some of these constructions would not be approved today in a time where risky adventure play has all but disappeared from the lives of many children.

The photograph of the genteel children posing compliantly with the doll comes from the G H Hutson collection of lantern slides at the State Library of Victoria.

Four unidentified children playing with a doll
(c 1890 – c 1920)

girl at carpenter bench

Carpenter benchA catalogue of play equipmentboy playing 'piano'Play yard

Project Gutenberg's A Catalogue of Play Equipment, by Jean Lee Hunt

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

2 Comments on “the value of play”

  1. Shannon says:

    It seems like all of the fun childhood things are gone and have been replaced with cheap plastic junk that leaves nothing to the imagination.


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