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The Child at Play

Brian Sutton-Smith

American children's freewheeling play once took place in rural fields and city streets, using equipment largely of their own making. Today, play is increasingly confined to backyards, basements, playrooms and bedrooms, and derives much of its content from video games, television dramas and Saturday morning cartoons. Modern children spend an increasingly large part of their lives alone with their toys, a situation inconceivable several centuries ago. Childhood was once part of a collective village life. Children didn't play separately but joined youths and adults in seasonal festivals that intruded upon the work world with considerable regularity and with great boisterousness.

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