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The Case For Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World Paperback – July 1, 2009
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"Lovable media characters, cutting-edge technology, brightly colored packaging, and well-funded, psychologically savvy marketing strategies combine in coordinated campaigns to capture the hearts, minds and imaginations of children - teaching them to value that which can be bought over their own make believe creations."
As a parent, I know she is right - most of us don't have degrees in child development nor do we spend hours poring over literature and research that helps us understand what really is best for our kids. Unfortunately, much of the information we get comes from companies that have developed products to "help parents."
So, for example, in our confusion over screen time for babies, most of us think that a half-hour here or there, while we're cooking dinner or taking a shower, won't hurt anything. Certainly that's what baby-video marketers will tell us. But what about a child's developmental step of learning to self-sooth? Linn states that babies can't master self-soothing if there is always some distraction there to pacify them.
One of the problems with childhood play today, argues Linn, is that it is scripted: children learn the scripts given to them through cartoons, videos, games, and characters and are unable to imagine stories outside those scenarios. For some children, this may take the form of repetitive, meaningless violence and fighting; for others, it may be playing princess but only using Disney-provided princess names and scenarios.Read more ›
This book is different. It is distrurbing, as Linn connects dots we might rather leave unconnected about the impact of commercialized play on our children, but in the end Linn reminds us how easy it is to bring the good back in to the lives of our children. What's more, the answers are free, easy, and fun. There is no list of must-have products or specific program to be followed -- instead, she reminds us how special play is and how the very best play comes from the most simple tools. Old cardboard boxes, battery free toys, wonderful outdoor spaces, peace and quiet. In fact, the book doesn't ask us to do more, it asks us to do less. How refreshing.
The book includes inspiring and compelling stories of children the authored worked with as a play therapist, using puppets to let the children create their own realities and to express feelings often hard to express in "real life."
I am a little afraid of make believe myself (what do I say? what should I do?), but felt inspired enough to pick up an old puppet and use it. My five year old needed almost no prodding - I didn't need to know what to do, because she knew what to do. And in no time, it came back to me too -- how to play. Now I can't seem to get enough -- we play hospital, restaurant, animal games. Whatever emerges. It's made me feel more connected to my daughter (this feels different from playing "go fish") and given me a sense of pride to know that I'm doing well by her as I work to carve out space for her imagination.
As for the rest of us? We'd do good to educate ourselves on the importance of play in our children's lives. I think we grossly underestimate it and I think it's high time we take the blinders off. Our children are being systematically deprived of a wholesome, creative, unbranded childhood. I'm as guilty as the next gal, I assure you. My kids watch TV. They wear the character t-shirts. Own the toys, DVD's and CD's. They play the video games (so do I, helloooo Wii!). Trust me when I say that a lot of the information in this book was a bit of an affront to me.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Way too much talking about her puppets and how they help children identify with their problems. I expected a book that would assist me in helping my kids in developing a better... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Katharine
I bought this book with some idea of the arguments in it, but it went beyond my expectations. The author makes a great case for the necessity of creative play not only for making... Read morePublished on October 21, 2013 by M. Durando
At least that's what the author tries to tell you. Well - okay - except Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, since she was in that show. Read morePublished on August 11, 2011 by FroggyMama
Linn makes a compelling case for the importance of imaginative play in the lives of children, and beyond. Read morePublished on April 28, 2011 by Erin
This book is thought provoking and truly wonderful. I cannot put it down! Even if you truly understand the value of play and think you know all there is to know, there is so much... Read morePublished on April 26, 2010 by N. C.
This book is well written and thought provoking. However, a lot of it is devoted to the author's experience with play therapy and therefore most of it doesn't really help parents... Read morePublished on November 13, 2009 by Andrea
As an educator with 12+ years in middle and high school, I would say this book points out a major problem with today's education. Read morePublished on October 15, 2008 by Bob
In her warm-hearted and compelling style, Susan Linn makes a strong case for creative play. The Case for Make-Believe is easy to read and offers many practical suggestions that... Read morePublished on June 9, 2008 by Richard Freed