What Charlotte Mason had to Say about Play

Wednesday, April 15, 2015




“There is a danger in these days of much educational effort that children’s play should be crowded out [or what is the same thing] should be prescribed for and arranged until there is no more freedom of choice about play than about work. We do not say a word against the educational value of games (such as football, basketball, etc.) … but organized games are not play in the sense we have in view. Boys and girls must have time to invent episodes, carry on adventures, live heroic lives, lay sieges and carry forts, even if the fortress be an old armchair; and in these affairs the elders must neither meddle nor make.” -Charlotte Mason






Even over a hundred years ago, Charlotte Mason spoke of the dangers of over-scheduling our children.  I guess the idea of ‘much educational effort crowding out’ play isn’t a new concept.  Isn’t it true that in our culture’s effort to make our children super achievers, we are doing just what Charlotte warned against?  

So many families have these crazy over-scheduled lifestyles that leave little time for kids to just be, well, kids.
I mean, as a culture, so many of our children are so incredibly busy that there is literally no time left for play.   And by play, Charlotte Mason wasn’t talking about organized sports or swimming lessons or dance class.  Nope, she was referring to that good ol’ fashioned free play.
The kind of play where you build a fort and bring snacks into it because, well, you’ll be stranded ‘in the middle of the woods’ a long time and what would you do without rice cakes and peanut butter?






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