The other day a friend commented that a particular playground provided a great backdrop for kids' play and I agreed.  In my mind, based on personal experience and on observing my kids' play, the ingredients of a good backdrop are some trees to swing from, interesting rocks, obscured parts, and corners and tunnels or a closet in an unusual place.  A good backdrop can be a launching pad for a continuously evolving game or series of games and inventions.  It can be key to boisterous play that consumes and invites a range of playing options.

I can remember playing for ages in the attic of an old church once because it had so many interesting little cubbies, a set of stairs leading to it and a door which allowed me to pretend it was my apartment for many hours.  My daughter gave me a tour the other day of a playground we frequent. "Here is my bedroom, this is the hall way, and here is the back door and this is where I cook."

The line between "game" (with a set of ever expanding and refined rules) and full-on play with extensive parameters that cannot be reduced to points or teams is blurry.  Ultimately, regardless of the terms,  many of the play scenarios that my kids engage in are driven by their want and need to understand and know what the world is about.

What if I continued to seek out good backdrops even now, what if I remembered that I do not know much and still have so much to understand? Would I play more?  What makes a good backdrop?


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