The Traditional Children's Games of England Scotland
& Ireland In Dictionary Form - Volume 2

With Tunes(sheet music), Singing-rhymes(lyrics), Methods Of Playing with diagrams and illustrations.

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CHILDREN'S GAMES
5i5
the dramatic in children's games is more ancient than, or at all events as ancient as, the customs enshrined in the games themselves, and I will first of all see if this is so.
With the child the capacity to express itself in words is small and limited. The child does not apparently pay as much attention to the language of those adults by whom he is surrounded as he does to their actions, and the more limited his vocabulary, the greater are his attempts at expressing his thoughts by action. Language to him means so little unless accompanied by action. It is too cold for a child. Every one acquainted with children will be aware of their dramatic way of describing to their mother or nurse the way in which they have received a hurt through falling down the stairs or out of doors, or from knocking their heads against articles of furni­ture. A child even, whose command of language is fairly good, will usually not be content to say, "Oh, mother, I fell down and knocked my head against the table," but will say, " Oh, I fell down like this " (suiting the action to the word by throwing himself down); " I knocked my head like this " (again suiting the action to the word by knocking the head against the table), and does not understand that you can comprehend how he got hurt by merely saying so. He feels it necessary to show you. Elders must respond in action as well as in words to be under­stood by children. If "you kiss the place to make it well," and if you bind up a cut or sore, something has been done that can be seen and felt, and this the child believes in as a means of healing. A child understands you are sorry he has been hurt, much more readily than if you say or repeat that you are sorry; the words pass almost unheeded, the action is remembered.
Every one, too, must have noticed the observation of detail a child will show in personifying a particular person. When a little child wishes to personate his father, for instance, he will seat himself in the father's chair, cross his legs, pick up a piece of paper and pretend to read, or stroke an imaginary beard or moustache, put on glasses, frown, or give a little cough, and say, ■" Now I'm father," if the father is in the habit of indulging in either of the above habits, and it will be found that sitting







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