Children still play the old schoolyard favorites

Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:16pm EDT
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By Michelle Martin

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - 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.   Continued...

<p>Rohingya children from Myanmar play in a refugee camp in Cox's Bazaar August 17, 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj</p>