Saturday night we went out with a few friends to attend a play production of Oliver! put on by the Pasadena Junior Theater.

Afterwards, we discussed our observation that BTV (before TV) this was how book and stories came to life.  Instead of passive activities, these kids were putting their talents and efforts together in the telling of this famous Dickens novel.  

In Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women,  the sister’s put on plays to amuse themselves throughout the long cold eastern winters. They developed creativity and bonded together putting on such play productions.  Unfortunately, children’s imagination and creativity are now programmed by adults in an office somewhere. Sadly, technology has attributed to the death childhood.

Today unstructured outdoor activity has largely disappeared for many American children. Tethered to TV and video games, they lead sedentary lives. As one fourth-grader in San Diego puts it, “I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.”

De-Naturing Childhood

Thankfully we kids grew up in a “simpler time.” I remember spending time with my brothers and sister roaming about our 10 acres in Florida; building forts, fishing, playing on the sandpile and swing/gymnastic set, catching turtles, jumping off hay bales in the neighbor’s barn, climbing the huge oak in the front yard, planting the summer garden with our father. We were fortunate to have such memories and, unfortunately, such childhood experiences are rare these days.

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  1. Nancy Kelly says:

    Amen to that! I am so glad I’m not a kid now. When we were kids, we were always outside playing – kick the can games involving everyone on the block, long bike rides, one particular (somewhat dangerous)game involving a large inner tube where we would curl up inside the inner tube and someone would roll us down the hill of our front lawn into the street! using the same inner tube as a trampoline, swimming, hikes through the hills – life was good! What good memories to have, thanks!


  2. shannon says:

    Oh I couldn’t agree more. As an early homeschooler in the middle of nowhere IL, i so relate to your childhood experience! such a magical time. My sister grew up with a totally different experience and is so jealous of the stories from my youth. Now I struggle to maintain a balance of tech and imagination for my 7 yr old. Boy does home schooling help!!!!

    keep up the good work

  3. dragonfly183 says:

    We’ve been without a TV for most of the summer. although we can pop in a DVD or vhs any time we like its no longer a battle to get the kids outdoors. Instead of endless hours watching the cartoon network they ride bikes, Coyotes practices using his compound Bo. a month or so ago i caught them using a barrel i salvaged for catching rain water to roll down a steep hill with. My only objection is that hill was a paved street and they couldn’t see if there was traffic coming when they were in the rolling barrel.

  4. lauren says:

    I wholeheartedly agree! I recently wrote on my blog about a great book by Richard Louv called Last Child in the Woods. It’s about the so-called “nature deficit disorder” that kids today are experiencing. He attributes the lack of time that kids have to get explore outside and create their own secret worlds (such a huge part of my childhood like the others have mentioned!) to childhood obesity, attention deficit disorders, and a giant disconnect from our natural world. It’s just not fair to the kids! I’m a new parent, but I can’t help but think that ALL of us in society are responsible for helping get children back on to the path of wonderment at nature and imaginative joy. Thanks for the post.

  5. mike says:

    Parental fear is the real problem, not video tech. Today’s kids have never been allowed to go outside unsupervised. Very few parents even let their kids walk to school anymore (assuming they send them to a school outside the home at all). The very sad thing is that if you do let your kids out to roam the neighborhood freely, they usually won’t find any other kids to play with. An unattended child on the street is often viewed by adults with suspicion, especially if that child is a teenager. Faced with those prospects, I’d probably stay indoors too.