Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy have produced a brilliant analysis of some of the things children learn playing hopscotch. I’m guessing their article, Why Hopscotch Matters, is written primarily for people who need to launch some kind of hopscotch defense. There are always the official curmudgeons who make it their mission to eliminate recess or close down playgrounds or wash hopscotch drawings off their sidewalks, and we are consequently always in need of gathering evidence in support of kids having fun.
Even if you are curmudgeon free, and a passionate advocate for children’s play, reading that article could very well make you feel even more wonderful about your wisdom and compassion and faith in all things hopscotch. For example:
“Believe it or not,” Connell and McCarthy write, “hopping on one foot is one of the most complex movements the human body can perform. The technical term for it is homolateral movement, defined as one side of the body moving while the other side of the body is still.For children, hopping signals sophisticated advances in both physical coordination, balance, AND cognitive development.You see, as your child refines her physical coordination, she is also building essential neural pathways in the brain. It’s those exact same pathways which will one day become the conduits for left/right brain thinking tasks such as creativity, reasoning, and self-regulation.”
“Aha,” you smugly say to yourself whilst patting yourself on your conceptual back, “how wise I am in deed.” And later, you might also say, also to yourself, “how wonderful, rich and developmentally sound the forces of fun.”
You might then find yourself so strengthened in your faith in kids and play that you find need to delve deeper into the small plethora of hopscotch-related posts on this very site. Should that be your impulse, stifle it not.
A playful path is the shortest road to happiness.
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