A History of Child's Playby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Describe how the child's game play over the last 2000+ years has been a reflection of society and the technological advancement that have caused such changes.
In most entertaining scenes of happiness you will encounter bright sunshine, lush meadows, spring birds uttering their morning songs, and water running down a nearby stream. But underlying all these things, you will hear the sound of children playing. While adults spend most of their day working and resting, children spend large sections of their day laughing, running, and playing. Although over the years their methods of play have changed in countless ways; children having fun with toys, games, and anything in their hands has been a staple part of the human experience.
Early game play is prevalent in both Greece and Rome. Many of the games played back then were similar to those that we play today. They included board games like checkers, dice, jacks, yo-yos and more. 1 War games and fighting with sticks was another common pastime, especially in militaristic Spartan Greece. 2 Various ball games and other athletic competitions were also around back then. Young children often played with small clay toys or dolls. In Greece, many of the children did these activities in hopes of one day competing in the Olympic Games to bring honor to their city state and to impress their gods. Also in Greece, hunting and fishing were common activities. 3 The time children had to play varied based on their household. In Greece, much of the time was spent in school were they learned and trained. In Rome, wealthy children spent their days in school and their evenings playing. Slaves did all the hard work. 3.5 Poorer children would have to spend time working, but still had time to play with the few simple toys their families could afford.
From there, games continued to reflect upon the culture. The games people played varied based on what supplies they had, how much time they had, and where they lived. During the Middle Ages, time for actual game play decreased. This is because children who happened to be born into the family of a knight would be trained as one. From a very young age they spent most of their time studying, learning and training in the art of knighthood. 4 This left little time to actually goof off and have fun. Other children were born into religious families, and spent most of the day learning to be a monk or some other religious person. Girls at this time were trained to be proper ladies or housewives. Those born into a common household had to help work in order to keep their family going. Still, it should not be said there was no time for game play. Even in busy times like these, it was not surprising to see a game of ball, toy dolls or other such things.
Victorian children spent their time playing in a play room, which had all their toys including new inventions like a rocking horse, in them. 5 More active school boys would be likely to play a game of ball when they had a break. The game of chess moved from its Persian origins to Europe sometime around the 1500s. 6 Around the same time, playing cards took a similar path from the Far East. 7 Still, much like in times before, children spent most of their time helping out the family, in school, or in some form of apprenticeship or training. Thus the time they had for games varied from instance to instance, year to year. In most cases, it was probably not much more than an hour or so a day. A wealthy family would have more free time, and these children tended to play calm, quiet games indoors.
This trend continued much into the 19th and early 20th century. But as time progressed, the more free time children had to play. There are several reasons behind this change. For one, technological advancements improved families' working conditions. No longer were most children required to work in the fields all day to help provide for their family. Societal changes, like resting on Saturday as well as Sunday also freed up more time. With this extra time, there was a rise in game play everywhere.
An example of this rise in game play is sports - both in the backyard and organized team sports. Baseball, America's national pastime, had its origins in the early 19th century when groups of American men and boys played "Town Ball" - a sport very similar to today's baseball. The first leagues and official rules of baseball were developed around 1845. With the popularity of this sport, children wanted to be like their heroes at the ball park. Hence they too started playing baseball 8. Much the same thing happened in the American sports of football and basketball, soccer around the world, and things like cricket in other parts of the globe. Of course, many of these games had been around and played by children for quite some time. The creation of leagues and official rules simply meant that children's play was not just for children anymore. The sports that had their rules written down and leagues formed found even more popularity. This new found popularity gave rise to organized youth sports, such as the founding of Pop Warner football in 1929 9 and Little League baseball ten years later.10 Today, countless kids in American and across the globe are enrolled in some kind of team sport such as baseball, football, soccer and basketball.
Another big way in which games and children's activities changed during the 20th century was in the rebirth of board games. Although games like Chess, Checkers and the Japanese favorite, Go, survived the test of time, many of the other ancient board games faded away. Board games became popular again in 1935 when Parker Brothers published Monopoly. 11 This property buying and selling game revolutionized the gaming industry and spawned dozens of different board games. Although many of these games are still actively played today, a second rebirth of board games seems to have come within the last ten years. While Monopoly and likeminded games still remain family favorites, recent games such as The Settlers of Catan have now replaced the risks and monopolies in college settings and are making their way into the everyday household. These games thrive off strategy and skill, compared to the luck factor of older games.
Still, all of these changes are nothing compared to the technological boom that started in the 1900s. Starting with Franklin's death-defying discovery of electricity in 121752, several advancements aided child's game play. These advancements included the invention of the lightbulb in the 1800s 13; the creation of the radio around 1905 and the television around 1923 14; and the production movies in the early 1900s 15; . Movies themselves progressed from simple sets of photographs projected onto a screen, to the introduction of sound in the 1920s, all the way up to today's top notch action thrillers. Back at home, cable and satellite TV starting bringing hundreds of channels into a child's household, filling their screen with even more sporting events, movies and of course, Saturday morning cartoons. Both personal computers and the internet had ideas and applications dating back to the 1960s 16, but neither of them really caught a hold until the 1990s. Video games rapidly progressed from the pacman and pong one might find on their Atari system to top notch games with blazing 3D graphics found on consuls such as a Playstation 2 or an Xbox as well as on many PCs.
Today, middle class children in America and Europe spend hours with their high tech gadgets. Although each case is clearly different, for many children the days of sandlot baseball games and pickup basketball are things of the past. Movies gross millions upon millions of dollars in ticket sales. Phone conversations and snail mail have been replaced with high speed email and instant messenger. Titles such as the Halo series dominate gaming systems. In fact, the trend of society reflected upon the game play has changed. While in the past societal trends have been reflected in game play, today's game play itself is now such an integrated part of society that the violence found in many top selling movies and computer games seems to influence a persons outlook on the world. Instead of life affecting the games played, the games affect the life led.
Child's game play is far too broad a subject to cover all the aspects of in one paper. This one has simply touched a brief history, and ignores many great toys, such as marbles 17, teddy bears18, bicycles19, Lego bricks20 and more. But the fact of the matter is that game play has been an important part of every child's life. From simple clay toys used by the early Greeks to the televisions and computers of today; the changes in child's play have been a reflection of the changes happening in the surrounding world. In just the last 100 years game play has changed in unimaginable ways. What lies in store for the gaming and entertainment industries in the future? With computer games and movies alone being multi-billion dollar industries and with many adults now enjoying gaming, it is clear that time and energy will be put into making the next set of changes even more radical than the previous ones
1. Which of the following toys did the Romans and Greeks NOT have?
2. Which of the following was NOT a reason children did not spend as much time
playing during the middle ages.
They were too busy
They couldn't afford enough toys.
They thought toys were dumb.
3. What happend in 1935 that revolutionized the gaming industry?
The computer was invented.
George Washington was hit on the head with a lightening bolt.
The game Monopoly was first produced.
He-yung-kim discovered chess.
4. Which of the following is the correct order of when the following technologies
were first produced.
Electricity, TVs, Computers, Radios.
Electricity, Radios, TVs, Computers.
TVs, Computers, Electricity, Radios.
Electricity, TVs, Radios. Computers.
up17 http://www.ushist.com/props/toys-and-games.htm Clay marbles dated back to even roman and greek times, but the standard glass marbles most people use today were no produced and used until around the time of the 19th century.
up18 http://members.tripod.com/~bigbee/history Teddy Bears were first produced in 1902 and were named after the then current president, Theodore Roosevelt
up19 http://www.chevroncars.com/wocc/lrn/tri/index.jhtml?date=05/06/2004 Original bikes we very similar to today's tricycles and were designed to be propelled by pushing on the ground with you feet. They first appeared in the early 1800s. The standard peddles and steering devises did not appear until the 1860s.
up20 http://www2.hawaii.edu/~wendik/lego.htm Lego's were first produced as wooden block in 1932. Then have seince then expanded to the plastics pieces of every shape, color and size imaginable that we see today.
Additional information about <http://hyperhistory.net/apwh/essays/cot/t0w35kidsgames.htm>
Focus on Facts
The above essay was donated to hyperhistory.net.
of inaccuracies or plagiarism.
Post a link to this essay,
a great essay
on your blog or website :
|Comparative Essays||Biographies||Doc. Based Questions||Change Over Time|