Games and Plays in the Playground

The space for the first years of school began to be defined on the 19th century. Until then, learning and games were played on the street or in the house.

When grownups or even teachers talk about school, they forget about the playground,  this space and great time for the child’s development. The games played on the playground stimulate the initiative capacity, fellowship attitudes and also the skills of the body and emotions. Some pedagogues also believed that the interaction in school and the friendship on the playground would contribute to the proximity of people of different ages, origins and social groups.

In Portugal on the 19th century, since the first definition of a scholar building for primary school, the playground was always projected as a particular space, which was characterised by an open and closed space, due to rain and snow.

In the playground, children would continue the games and plays that were part of their life at home and in the street. They would carry with them material from several games and toys or even what was necessary to built one.

The construction of toys by children, from innumerable resources founded at home and in nature, was already a game. It passed from children to children, from generation to generation and resulted in an important cultural heritage, which has materialised in a vast Universe of Popular Toys.
It was in the playground that children, playing and singing, kept and made new friends, forming small childish societies and learning new things which would be kept throughout life. Although the playground was a place for games and plays in a countless ways, just like children’s imagination, it was also a place marked by some rules, traditions and even prejudice, such as, some games and plays were only for boys or for girls.

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