Childhood is generally associated with a variety of most delightful leisure activities. Later in life these gradually become replaced with studying, chores around the house and working, all of which may be quite satisfying, but scarcely offering such pure enjoyment. The present essay focuses on several activities which may seem old-fashioned in the modern world of advanced technology and weakening family ties, but is, nevertheless, still appealing to most young children.
One of the most beloved pastimes for young children is being read to. Even when able to read, a child loves being read to by an adult for a number of reasons. First of all, it provides him with an opportunity to ask for explanation whenever he or she needs one. Secondly, expressive intonation of an adult reading aloud helps the child to visualize the characters and scenes, developing his or her imagination. And last but not least, being read to is more than just a pastime, it is a kind of a ritual, enhancing the child/parent relationship, calming and soothing, creating a unique atmosphere of intimacy and loving attention. That is the reason why this activity so frequently takes place before bedtime or when the child is ill.
Another popular activity is building. A set of wooden blocks or bright plastic Lego bricks brings a child many happy moments. Not only does it develop his or her tactile sensing, coordination, spatial reasoning, but also generates a highly rewarding feeling of achievement, when the bricks that were scattered over the floor become parts of an impressive construction, be it a railway bridge or a tower – just three colorful wooden blocks, placed one upon another by tiny plump hands of a one-year-old constructor.
Equally enjoyable is swinging. Combining elements of both active and passive pastimes, the swing allows even a very young or a disabled child to feel the thrill of rapid motion. Apart from the pleasure, swinging develops the child’s vestibular apparatus and trains various groups of muscles.
These are just a few examples of activities popular with young children. They are not only pleasurable, but also beneficial for the child’s mind and body, preparing it for more serious tasks that adult life presents us with.