Play. Girls’ play. What does that word even mean, to a kid of the 21st century? As a child of the ’50s, I can tell you what it doesn’t mean.

Girls skipping rope
Photo (cc) by Boston Public Library

A “first-world” kid of today no longer skips rope. (At least the vast majority doesn’t.) And what a huge store of wonderful little ditties she’s missing out on, e.g. “Kenny and Molly / Sitting in a Tree / K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”

She no longer bounces a Lacrosse ball against a nice flat wall behind her house, catching it each time while chanting, “Right hand… Left hand… Twirl about… T’bapsies…”

She no longer plays “pretend” in her backyard, with or without other little girls. My own pretend play involved my role as a world-famous (Russian) ballerina. I admit to not treating my “assistants” very well; I was rather haughty. 😉

She no longer plays with a hula hoop; great exercise and fun too. Attempts have been made to bring them back, but I’m not so sure about the success of this campaign…

She no longer rides her bike all over the neighbourhood. Wait, she does? Okay, I stand, no sit, corrected!

She no longer plays with dolls. Unless they’re the latest Barbie, maybe. But I can remember playing with baby dolls. Changing their diapers (which didn’t need changing, but it was good practice!) and bottle-“feeding” them.

She no longer plays school with her little friends. (…of course playing the role of “teacher,” forcing her hapless “students” to write – oh, heh, never mind!)

And much more.

No. Today, a young girl’s play world is full of iPads and video games.

Something rich and precious has been lost. Just IMHO.




8 thoughts on “Play

  1. My granddaughter is seven, and her dad, my son, has a strict “no screens” policy. I am not sure how long he can keep that regimen, but it has been great for her. She doesn’t have a hula hoop, by the way, but she has sports and art and lots of pretend play.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And let us not forget roller skating with the key hanging from a length of string around our necks, bolo bats, and paper dolls whose paper clothes were folded over their shoulders.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was going to mention the roller skating! But decided not to, since some kids do go rollerblading. Paper dolls!! How could I have forgotten that, oh yes, great on rainy days! And bolo bats, wow yes! Thanks for those memories too!


      1. But, somehow, roller blading is just not the same as sitting on your front steps, tightening your skates onto your shoes with a key, and heading off around the block.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well sure, you and I both know there’s a qualitative difference! Heh, but hey, it’s still rolling on wheels, y’know? At least the kids are outside doing it, getting exercise, fresh air and sunshine.


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