- Hardcover: 258 pages
- Publisher: The New Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565849701
- ISBN-13: 978-1565849709
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Case For Make-Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World Hardcover – April 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
A ventriloquist and psychologist, Linn (Consuming Kids) claims that the act of make-believe is disappearing. In her impassioned plea for its survival, Linn reveals that play has many benefits, including helping kids develop problem-solving, critical thinking and social skills. Play also enables children to explore their inner feelings, cope with challenges and promotes emotional healing. Linn reveals how she uses puppets to encourage deeply troubled kids to explore their feelings, pointing out that imaginative play helps all children cope with such issues as separation, anger and fear. Tragically, Linn claims, play is on a downswing, replaced by TV time and highly marketed media-linked toys and electronic media that discourage real creativity. In fact, despite the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to prohibit screen time until the age of two, a study Linn cites reveals that 40% of infants under three months are regular screen viewers. The director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Linn claims that the demise of play is a public health problem requiring an urgent campaign. She concludes with ways parents can incorporate creative play, while acknowledging the challenge of swimming against the powerful media tide. (May)
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Puppeteer and therapist Linn draws on years of work at Boston Children’s Hospital to make a thoughtful case for creative play. She distinguishes between children who are familiar with concepts of imagination and make-believe versus those who know only how to play with manufactured toys linked to media campaigns or within the constructs of rule-driven environments. You can dress Barbie up, but what can she do? And while Legos once ruled the world of imagined play, now carefully constructed kits hem children in by guiding them to replicate someone else’s design rather than creating their own. None of this will be news to most parents, but Linn seeks to discover what it means for children to no longer spend time pretending to be someone or somewhere else. Her research is comprehensive, her firsthand knowledge is impressive, and her examples are damning in their conclusions. Echoing thoughts raised by Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods (2005), Linn brings invaluable expertise to this well-organized and straightforward exploration of a neglected subject. --Colleen Mondor
Top customer reviews
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Dr. Linn is a co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University Medical. She has also worked extensively with children in the capacity of a play therapist. Dr. Linn is clearly an expert in her field and does a wonderful job of laying out the reasons why play is an "essential building block for a meaningful life" (page 10). Yet despite its vital importance to child development, imaginative play is eroding in our present day society, as children spend significantly less time engaging in creative play then they have in past years. For Linn, the answer lies in our profit driven corporate culture, which undermines the importance of creative play in favor of more profitable character based and directive styles of play.
Linn's book however, is one of hope and encouragement. She provides us (the overstressed parent) with suggestions for how to parent with intention and nurture creativity. She provides her reader with bulleted lists, tips and suggestions to help spark creative play. For Linn, the solution seems to be a more intentional type of parent, we "have to know who we are and what we value" (page 199).
What I enjoyed most about Linn's writing was that she did ot write a book strictly for academics and professionals, rather this book is for us, the parents. Rather than blaming, or criticizing parents for the decline of creative play amongst our children, Linn puts the blame on corporate profiteers. She empowers parents and educators to look within and trust themselves for the answers. Linn's book is engaging and thought provoking. It should be required reading for any parent who wants to parent with intention, as a tool to navigate through an overwhelming, dis-empowering, corporate culture. Perhaps the greatest motivation for nurturing creative play in our children is that it allows them to differentiate between their own internal motivation and the external stimulus of media messages. By fostering creative play, we are equipping our children with the tools that they themselves will need to maneuver the commercialized world in which they are
Since now. After all, we live in a time when playing "dress up" means putting on a licensed Disney Corporation costume.
As Susan convincingly points out, not only is creative play not encouraged in the media, it actually threatens corporate profits. After all, what kid would need a Playstation if he or she is putting on a puppet show for the neighborhood?
THE CASE FOR MAKE-BELIEVE is not simply a diatribe protesting the way things are. Linn is a child psychologist at Harvard, and she reinforces her arguments with specific (and often heart-warming) case studies of kids, tweens, and teens. I really think this book (and Linn's work with the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood) should be required reading for parents.
Also recommended: Consuming Kids: Protecting Our Children from the Onslaught of Marketing & Advertising.