This past weekend, at SciFoo 2010, during one of Nat Torkington’s Lightning Rounds, I had a chance to talk about childhood play patterns of scientists, of all of us, and about the benefits of self-directed play. Here’s an earlier blog post on the topic.
Please join the discussion in the Talk To Me section of this blog, and share how you played as a child. Alone? Social? Both? Were you a builder and a maker? Did you create your own experiments? Did you have favorite objects? Do tell!
4 thoughts on “How Did You Play?”
It’s interesting that you’d ask, the query of play as a child. I was talking to my Mom this weekend, Lila Girvin, a painter in Spokane. She was telling stories about her early “motherhood” — and that I, as the first born, was always disappearing, mostly heading out to play by myself. Surely I had friends, but I was more than fine being alone.
I was definitely a builder, tunnels, worlds, treehouses — as well as a nature explorer, gathering ants, spiders, scorpions — in jars in my room. I liked — and still savor — drawing, making books, stories, adventures…Early graphic novels and journals, I’d imagine.
I liked to tune into things with a magnifying glass. Still do.
all the best, Tim Girvin | Decatur Island
On the corner of 98th and Roosevelt in Seattle in the 60’s there was a wooded lot. It belonged to Mr. Pitts, father of Jeff who was my pal. There we would gather, a motley crew of neighborhood kids, to join the Free French resistance fighting the Nazis from our Black Forest hold. We were armed with a miscellany of sticks and projectiles – uprooted fiddlehead ferns and dogwood flower pits mostly. The forest was endless and dark. We fought with ferocity, courage and cunning. We were a brotherhood of heros.
The next year we entered 4th grade. Someone noticed I was a girl. The game ended abruptly. Childhood ended abruptly.
This comment alone is one of the best short stories I’ve read in about a year.
What an interesting blog you have. I’m so glad I found it, and I will add you to my blogroll.
Before age 10, when I lived in the city, I played rough games with the neighborhood kids. We often played a game called Smeer the Queer. (Please note that “queer” only meant “odd” back then.) It was kick ball with a twist. When a person missed the ball or kicked it out, everyone else formed a line, and the offender crawled between their legs as the others punched them on the back and sides. In our rough neighborhood, many kids found this to be a form of affection and camaraderie.
Once we moved out of town, I played alone by riding my horse through empty fields and daydreaming about having friends to play with again.