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boxes past which the children must not step when they are throwing. Of course it counts more to throw the bag in the smaller box. Ring toss is another game which does not require so much exertion. The apparatus for this may be bought or made at home. If made at home heavy rope will be found to be very practical for the rings.
For children who are confined to their beds or to wheel chairs, still less active games must be suggested. Board or card games, dominoes, and puzzles are suitable. Teddy bears, dolls, soldiers, wagons, horses and other simple toys will be a comfort to them and be suggestive of imaginative play. Scrap books, especially those containing puzzles and jokes will amuse the children and if they are able they will love to make these books themselves. With a number of old magazines at their disposal they can work out lots of interesting schemes. Some children may make a collection of animal pictures, some may collect pictures of flowers, some will want pictures to illustrate favorite stories, some may collect pictures of prominent people, men in political affairs or perhaps baseball players. Girls will enjoy making houses for paper dolls in their scrap books. Each double page may represent a room and the completeness and gorgeousness with which a room may be furnished will make up for any faulty perspective. Invalid children who are at home will receive help from friends and relatives in making their collections. In institutions it may be a little more difficult to obtain enough magazines to supply all the children but there are always individuals or groups of children who are very glad to help if the desire for pictures is called to their attention. Sunday school classes, boys' and girls' clubs of various kinds are frequently looking for some concrete expression of service and will be delighted to know of such a simple form.
Drawing and painting will be interesting occupations in connection with making the scrap books. Crayons or water colors may be used and what some of the children lack in talent they will make up for in enthusiasm. Making posters and programs for an entertainment which is to be given in the institution will prove quite an incentive. Many other forms of manual training may be taught them if it is possible to have an instructor for this sort of work. Perhaps public school
teachers might volunteer their service occasionally and in this case some of the articles made might be sold and the proceeds from such sales would be sufficient to keep the children in materials.
The children will enjoy reading, storytelling, victrola music, or more formal entertainments such as interesting lectures or concerts. Anything which can be called a "party" no matter how unpretentious will always be greeted with enthusiasm.
A good idea for a rainy day is to propose some sort of party and let the children help with the preparations. The impromptu idea will appeal to them. Anticipation, however, plays a great part in the enjoyment of the Christmas and Thanksgiving parties and if the plans for the celebration are kept a secret they will love the uncertainty of not knowing just what is going to happen. It will also be fun to celebrate a birthday of one of the children or one of the nurses. Some philanthropic people have established the custom of celebrating their own birthdays by giving a party in the children's ward of the local hospital.
Play in Institutions
Experiments which are being worked out by local Community Service groups in providing play for children in institutions are briefly reported here as indicative of a few of the things which can be done by interested local groups in cooperation with the heads of institutions in their communities.
At Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the Community Service Girls' Worker began early in the spring to think about recreation for the children of Anchor Mission, and was successful in securing the interest of a committee of girls who agreed to help with the program. The first regular activity instituted was a weekly game hour conducted by the worker and four of her volunteer assistants.
Plans were then made for producing a play, the Enchanted Garden, for which a dramatic teacher offered her services as coach. The girls of one of the department stores made the costumes for the children, and the Boy Scout troop volunteered to decorate the Mission for the night's entertainment. Two very
successful performances were given, the second on the Park School playground before an audience of two hundred. Community Service Quartette assisted at both occasions.
Perhaps the biggest event of the season for the children of Anchor Mission was a picnic given by the Rotary Club in August. Eight motor cars and three boats were provided, and after a joyous ride and a sail the children were taken to the Country Club for games. Community Service furnished the leaders for this part of the program. Supper was a delightful affair, at which favors of crakerjack, fancy caps and toy balloons were given to the children. The Rotarians declared that they had enjoyed every minute of the day.
The Bay County (Michigan) Community Board has been performing a distinct service for the children of the Juvenile Home and the Orphans' Home by arranging for them a week's outing at the Fresh Air Camp conducted by the Board. During August groups from two orphanages in Saginaw were taken to the camp for a day's fun. The Sisters in charge of the orphans, in expressing their gratitude, said that this had been one of the pleasantest occasions in the lives of the children.
Other Work in
Community Service in Cincinnati has begun work in five orphan asylums. The present program consists of a story and play hour largely in charge of volunteer assistants. The superintendents of these institutions are giving hearty cooperation.
At Union Hill, New Jersey, arrangements have been made with the head of a nearby orphan asylum so that the children are permitted to join in the street play activities for half an hour each evening.
In Seattle plans are under way for a program of community music in the orphan asylums and reformatories. At the Orpheum Theatre recently the Community Service director of music led twelve hundred inmates of these institutions in mass singing.
The Seattle Chamber of Commerce Chorus is giving a series of programs at some of these institutions. The first place selected was the Mother Ryther Home where the chorus sang for the children and the children in turn sang for them. As a result of this
the Home will furnish song books, the piano is to be tuned, and sings will be held frequently.
At the Recreational Centre for Homeless Children in San Francisco Community Service has introduced mass singing, and plans are now being made for producing an operetta. A hundred boys and girls are reached through this center.
Guests at the
The American Legion in Denver cooperated with Community Service in entertaining at the
circus nine hundred children from various institutions in the city.
At the Kentucky
At the invitation of the Superintendent of the
the Community Service League has been conducting recreational activities for and with the wards of this institution. ball teams have been organized among the boys. The girls have become interested in volley ball, basket ball and croquet, all of these activities being conducted under volunteer leadership. A motion picture machine is soon to be installed, and this will introduce a new type of recreation. The Community League song leader conducts sings regularly.
These experiences by no means represent all the activities which local Community Service groups are carrying on. Other efforts at meeting the problem are finding expression in the sending of volunteer storytellers into children's institutions and homes for the aged and in sending soloists and quartettes to institutions of various kinds. More frequently, however, efforts are directed toward active participation on the part of those within the institutions in indoor and outdoor recreational activities.
An Outlet for Stifled Play Spirits in a
Suppose you got up at four-thirty in the morning, watered and fed the cows and fed the chickens, went to school, came home to another round of farm chores, ate your supper and went to bed at seven-thirty six days a week, week in, week out, would you feel like a human being? Suppose the only break in the week's work was a Bible class on Sunday morning and a sermon every other Sunday afternoon and suppose you were any
where from twelve to fifteen years old, would you feel you were getting much fun out of life?
It sounds like a tale of the pioneer days of the country when life was necessarily bleak and bare and childhood was cut short for the grim business of helping to tame the wilderness. But it isn't. The time is right here and now; the place, one of our state institutions for correcting children who go astray in the eyes of the law; and the children are very much like any other children. They are simply products of bad home conditions. There are two hundred of these children and they live on a big farm of several hundred acres, the work of which is done largely by them.
Fortunately a minister who has been preaching the Sunday afternoon sermons seemed to realize that these hard-working children needed something on Sunday besides Bible classes and sermons. One day, he asked the local Community Service worker to take charge of the Sunday afternoon program. For an hour, the children sang together and played simple games together. There had been nothing like it in their lives for many a day and they showed it not by disorder but by entering into the singing and playing with enthusiasm and intelligence.
There are going to be more afternoons of song and play at this institution; for members of the school staff have joined the Community Service class in game leading and song leading and are going to see to it that the lives of their charges are not quite all work and no play in the future.
Children Hold Election for Playground Offices*
With all the paraphernalia commonly used at a real election, even to the registration books, embryonic citizens of Newark, New Jersey, voted yesterday afternoon for municipal officials of the City Playground in Canal street. Ronald Smith, a thirteen-year-old colored boy of 111 South Canal street, was re-elected Mayor after serving in that capacity for six months. Before the polls opened Ronald was asked what he thought of his prospects.
* Courtesy of Newark Evening News, Nov. 2, 1920