The Attack on Playtime


Play is under attack in our homes and schools as children find their recess limited to 15 minutes a day and what playtime they do receive budgeted towards adult directed and controlled activities.  A child today works a sixty-hour week with little time for breaks.  When you think about it; it’s a kind of 21st century form of child labor.

For that reasons, an important aspect of this year’s World Congress of Play will be to challenge the notion that play is an indulgence; a waste of time; an obstacle to becoming a successful adult.   KaBOOM!, the organization that advocates for children to be given more playtime, will along with McDonalds, Playdate Planet, Playworld Systems and others make the case for the educational, mental, physical and emotional value of play in all of our lives.

It is not easy to challenge the notion that play is a waste of time.  The United States is in its essence heir to the Puritan work ethic.  The voices for hard work often crowd out those who argue for the value of allocating time for play.  After all, Benjamin Franklin reminded us that “time is money.”

In order to provide the other side of the coin; here are some quotes I found on the value of taking the time to play.

You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.

James M. Barrie

“Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods.”

Japanese proverb

 People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.

John Wanamaker 

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Bertrand Russell


Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

Carl Sandburg


Both young children and old people have a lot of time on their hands. That's probably why they get along so well.

Jonathan Carroll


One thought

  1. Great article Richard. On the button as usual. There are too many people (Adults) making children play the games they think they should be playing – such as violent & shocking games. however what our children need is stable fun games that teach them to be happy and responsible young people – not aggressive and rude as many games today make them into. Suggest we get back to basics and allow children to be children and not young adults thinking they know best.

Leave a Reply