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Children still play the old schoolyard favorites

News18

Updated: March 16, 2011, 2:38 PM IST
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Children still play the old schoolyard favorites
Games like skipping and clapping still popular despite lure of technology.

London: Children still enjoy playing traditional games like skipping and clapping in the playground despite the lure of mobile phones, computer games, and television, a study published on Tuesday found.

Playground games are "alive and well ... they happily co-exist with media-based play, the two informing each other," it said.

Contrary to popular beliefs, schoolyard games are "not overwhelmed, marginalized or threatened by the quantity and plurality of available media," researchers found.

Their study showed that children still spend their school breaktimes singing the songs that have been circulating for decades, although they sometimes update them by inserting references to the latest pop stars and soap characters.
Dancing also remains a favorite playground pastime, but children now like to base their routines on acts like Michael Jackson or Disney's hit film "High School Musical," they said.

Other classic activities still drawing in the crowds at playtime include tig, skipping, clapping, rhymes and make-believe games, while the hula-hoop is making a come-back.

"Media is an undeniably important aspect of children's lives, but part of a wider repertoire of playground culture that also includes older games, songs and rhymes," researchers said.

The study found that while children do make use of the multitude of media resources surrounding them, they "creatively manipulate them to their own ends" and that new media enriches children's folklore by providing topical themes for them to include in their make-believe games.

While children incorporate characters from reality television shows and the pop music scene into their play, they apply their imagination by changing, recombining and subverting what they had garner from the media rather than simply copying it.

"Some people play 'Dr Who' by choosing characters from the show and then improvising," said one child interviewed for the study, describing his favorite game based on the popular British science fiction television series.

Andrew Burn, who led the project, said pretend play was still flourishing.
"Children have always enjoyed enacting scenarios from their home or school lives, as well as fantasy stories," he said.

First Published: March 16, 2011, 2:38 PM IST
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