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Graeve, Oscar (ed.) / Delineator
Vol. 119, No. 1 (July, 1931)

Faust, J. W.
Summer in the home town,   pp. 36-37 PDF (1.2 MB)

Page 36

Children need not be a problem when
school ends. This article tells how some
parents and towns fill the long vacation
with constructive work and play. For
any further advice write Mrs. Marion M.
Miller. And enclose a stamped envelop
WH EN school closes, will you be as glad as the
children for the long weeks of vacation?
You will have more opportunity for good
times with them. But many hours of their
mer play you cannot share. Will the strain of won-
dering w here they are then and what they are doing out-
balance the fun and freedom of vacation comradeship?
The responsibility of parents and of the community
increases when the school's ceases. For summer days
are as vital in the child's development as the school term.
In this complex modern age there is a growing problem
of keeping boys and girls safely and happily occupied
d(rinu their free time. With smaller children this is
Part of a community volley ball team. A smiling
tribute to the fun of contest in organized play
A handicraft class. In the modern playground boys and girls gain hobbies that will last a lifetime
Photograph;  fron  Wheeling,  West  Virgn-a.  and  Dailas,  Texas
comparatively easy. They are satisfied with simple
activities at home.
But the question-"How shall they play?"-really
arrives for parents when son3 and daughters reach the
ages of about eleven to sixteen. This is a time of transi-
tion from the play of childhood to the recreation that will
last through the college age and into adulthood. It is a
critical period in the formation of habits for the use of
leisure. Also it is the age of adventuring, of "know it all."
Parents realize that to give the impression of bossing
these young adolescents-especially to tell them what to
do and what not to do with their precious free time-
might be fatal. What we can do is to provide opportuni-
ties for the right sort of activity, first at home, then in the
neighborhood or community.
Your boy or girl most truly learns to live in vacation
and free time. It is more :han a period for rebuilding
physical forces and acquiring a healthy tan and stronger
muscles. It is a time for musing, for discovery, for testing
one's powers against the world of nature and against one's
fellows, for acquiring skills and finding one's place in the
social scheme. Free of many of the usual restrictions,
boys and girls build personality and character. But in
order to build them, they must keep busy with work and
play that test their ingenuity and offer an outlet for their
restless energies. It is just as true of Johnny at fourteen
as at four that "the busy child is the happy child"-and
even truer that he requires absorbing play interests which
arise from within himself.
More and more, parents have been sending children to
(amp during vacation. This is a splendid experience, one
every boy and girl should have. But the term at camp,
,r the vacation away from home with the family, gener-
ally does not fill all of the time that school is closed.
Mlany boys and girls will spend their entire summer, as
they express it, "just hanging 'round town."
L AST summer just before school closed, a California city
took a survey among five hundred and thirty-one high
'chool boys and girls to determine their probable use of
vacation time. The picture this revealed proved a chal-
lenge to community groups to outline an immediate pro-
gram for more opportunities for wholesome recreation.
The time the students expected to give to theater-going
and dancing at commercial halls proved out of proportion
to the time they expected to spend at swimming and ten-
nis. Enlightening also was the confession by one-third of
the group that they expected to have an average of four
and a half hours of idle time every day, six days a week.
.11ore swimming pools, more tennis courts, and lights for
courts the city already had, were planned at once.
D  EP A     RTM       E NT         o  f      DEZL I
Recreation begins at home. Though we often hear
that the modern home is just an "American plan hotel"
-useful for eating and sleeping-the present widespread
interest in home games and backyard playgrounds gives
striking evidence to the contrary. Eighty-two cities are
carrying on home play promotion programs. In Los
Angeles alone during a recent three-month period, six
thousand families sought information on recreation for
all members of the home.
IT TAKES time and effort and the right spirit to work
I out a successful home recreation program. But when
this spirit of play has been captured, what buoyancy it
gives to family life!
Are you using the home grounds to full advantage for
recreation? Our family, with six youngsters, spent one
of our happiest summers the year we couldn't go to the
seashore, but turned our yard into a summer resort.
Even a small backyard has surprising possibilities. En-
list the help of the older boys and girls in building appara-
tus for their little brothers and sisters, and in planning
and beautifying the grounds. The sandbox, slide, and
swing are for the younger members of the family, but you
will find that the trapeze, the flying rings and the hori-
zontal bars are patronized by boys and girls up to sixteen
years of age.
These are facilities that will interest both the older chil-
dren and the grown-ups: A croquet ground, tennis court,
tether-ball pole, horseshoe pitching court, and a minia-
ture golf course with tin cans sunk in the ground as holes.
An outdoor fireplace, built of stones set in concrete, will
prove the rallying place for many a family picnic. Make
the garage do its bit by hanging a basketball goal or golf
driving net from its side, or using the wall as a backstop
for a handball court.
Some families have torn down the fences between their
backyards to make one large playground, each family
sharing in the cost of equipping the ground. A gay rivalry
between the various clans makes the games more fun.
Home playgrounds can enrich neighborhood life as well
as strengthen family ties.
The frequent presence of the parents is vital in creating
the spirit of comradeship in home play activities. Though
dad and mother only watch the fun from the yard bench
or the porch, a unity of interest is felt.
Summer is the time to foster a mutual interest in nature
study. Observing trees, flowers, birds, and rock formations
may be the objective of family hikes or motor trips. Set
up a home museum for collecting a few choice specimens.
Start a wild flower garden in a corner of the yard. Build
a bird house or a bird bath. A small  (Turn to page 68)
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