I recently ran across this interesting study, Children’s Playground Games and Songs in the New Media Age (PDF). Honestly, I don’t remember where or how it came up, but it was one of those things that I had no idea people even studied formally, but once reading it, seemed impossible not to want to know more.
It’s a wonderful antidote to some of the silly pronouncements of late that childhood is “toxic”, that children have no capacity for real play anymore, and of couse pointing to technology as the ogre in this sad myth.
However, this study disputes those claims.
“Needless to say, serious research in this field has usually discovered the opposite. Our own project, found that play was alive and well, more diverse in some respects than ever, and drawing on resources which had both a long historical lineage as well as ones from contemporary media cultures.”
This is really a fascinating study, with a website with digital recordings, ethnographic studies, collections of the games, a documentary film, and interestingly, a panel of youth who provided input and commentary on the study.
Hope you read it!