Indoor Provision

It is scope for the above kind of outdoor play that the house-bound, gardenless child lacks most of all. The child who lives in a flat is even worse off than the child who lives in a house with stairs to climb. Most of the mother’s time will be taken up by stopping children being physically active either because it is dangerous, inconvenient, too noisy for the neighbours, or is damaging the furniture. If she does this job too well her children may be unable to take advantage of equipment when it becomes available, at three years in a nursery group or five years in an infant school. If these children are not completely inhibited they are the ones who race round and round the nursery group and become quite wild when they finally do get the chance to jump, climb and be otherwise active. Plenty of indoor and outdoor space is desirable for any nursery group. For those in areas where most children live in flats it is essential, since they must not only make up for the limitations of home but they have to contain the initial’ wild’ behaviour that new children show.

However much one rails against this kind of life for young children some parents inevitably have to cope with it. Small versions of the toys already mentioned, strong boxes on which to climb, giving as much space as possible, not worrying too much about furniture, plenty of outings and visits to One O’Clock Clubs go some way to providing a short-term answer. The long-term one lies in the hands of planners and local authorities.