filed under Good Ideas | Humans

What Is Missing From This Picture?

1:03PM ON 03/09/2010
BY Beth Comery

hopscotch If you said ‘absolutely nothing’ (or ‘fat children’) congratulations, you get it. If you said ‘adult supervision’ or ‘helmets’ then you are a tedious fool. I have not seen the movie Where Do the Children Play? but I’m pretty sure I’m on board with the central theme.

This thought-provoking documentary examines an issue of growing concern among pediatricians, mental health experts, educators and environmentalists: more and more children are growing up with few opportunities for unstructured play, especially outdoors.

You don’t even see kids playing outside in the snow any more. Children used to be kicked out of the house by their parents and told not to come back until dinner. They then roamed the neighborhood in noisy gangs — usually with a pack of dogs — got into trouble, made up contests and games, staged plays, devised money-making schemes, formed weirdass clubs, and learned how to navigate social situations and become autonomous and independent citizens of the world. (And that world is not a scarier place, parents just do not assess risk properly.) The movie will be shown at Temple Beth-El next Tuesday evening and will be followed by a panel discussion. It will screen again on March 30th down at the URI Kingston Campus.

[I originally had this incorrectly slated for tonight. The event takes place one week from tonight. My apologies to the commenter and anyone else who has been inconvenienced. I usually check and double check, but I was rushing. BC]

Tuesday, March 16, 7pm to 9pm, Temple Beth-El, 70 Orchard Avenue

8 Comments on “ What Is Missing From This Picture? ”

  1. Location/Date change?

    Went and the lights were out; no cars. :(

  2. Beth Comery

    I feel absolutely terrible. The screening is next week on Tuesday March 16th. Please accept my sincerest apologies. So so sorry.

  3. Awesome! Well said, Beth!

  4. Thanks so much for correcting this. I just happy to know that we still get to see it! Thanks again, Beth! :)

  5. There’s some related research on playgrounds that shows that the most-used playgrounds are NOT the one’s with the nicest stuff. Rather, kids prefer ‘free form’ play areas that have raw play materials – boards, sticks, an old steering wheel, maybe some little shovels – that let them create their own play-scape, if you will. It’s in A Pattern Language.

  6. Forget Goofing Around: Recess Has a New Boss / March 14, 2010

  7. [...] was discussed in a post last week where a commenter drew this recent NYT article to our attention regarding a company that now runs [...]

  8. Beth – thanks so much for posting about this event (twice!). I was excited to see the comments and the link shared. We had a great conversation following our screening and I wanted to let everyone know that the Children’s Museum has a community discussion listserv called “PlayWatch: Connecting the Community to Promote Children’s Play” ( It’s a way to share articles, ideas, other resources – please join the conversation if you’re interested!



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