+At Play, 2007-Present
”If you teach them to achieve, they will never be content. If you teach them contentment, they will naturally achieve everything.” –The Idle Parent, Tom Hodgkinson
“Play is what children do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way and for their own reasons. These activities are freely chosen, personally directed and may take place with or without adult involvement. They may take place in the home; the street, the local community or on school premises, including the playground, and the countryside. Such activities may be undertaken by the child on their own or with peers.
Dennis DeHart-Statement of At Play
Nietzsche wrote “maturity consists in having found once again the seriousness one has as a child at play.” Twenty years after reading this, the quote seems even more apt as I observe and participate with play in my own children’s life. The series places the outdoors at the forefront of consciousness, while framing nature play as integral to childhood development and education. Family, community, education, and rural environments are central to At Play. The series is also my expression of fatherhood-both real and imagined. I draw inspiration from personal and cultural myths, humor, reverence, family, stories, homes, travels, and the backyard.
Play England: Making Spaces for Play: http://www.playengland.org.uk/
What is nature play?
Nature play is children exploring and enjoying the natural environment through their freely-chosen play. As well as simply enjoying playing outdoors and discovering green spaces near their homes, nature play could include planting and growing vegetables, fruit and flowers; cooking outdoors; playing with the elements or making camps and dens with natural materials.
Children Playing, Oaxaca, Mexico, 1995
Harrod, Tanya, Century of the Child: Growing By Design 1900-2000, Museum of Modern Art, NY, 2012
Jenkinson, Sally, The Genius of Play, Celebrating the Spirit of Childhood, Hawthorn Press, 2001, 2010
Langmuir, Erika, Imagining Childhood, Yale University Press, 2006
Louv, Richard, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, Algonquin Books, 2008
Mann, Sally, Immediate Family, Aperture, 2005
Nabhan, Gary Paul, The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places, Beacon Press, 1995
Image: Israhel van Meckenem, Children At Play”