Virtual Cabinet of Curiosities
13. Child’s skate bag, Prof. Sarah Holloway and Dr Helena Pimlott-Wilson
This skating bag covered in badges was earned by a child who took weekly skating lessons over several years whilst the parent watched and kept warm drinking coffee from a flask cup.
It is symbolic of shifts in children’s play traced by our research, most notably the decline of free play on the street and the rise of organised activities. There are striking class inequalities in this trend: many middle-class children have busy schedules, but their working class counterparts can be excluded by cost. Parents support children’s participation in activities which enhance their physical health, social networks and cultural capital, but this comes at a cost not only to family budgets but also to parents’ own leisure time. Concern for children’s current well-being and their transition to successful adulthood underpins these changes in the time/space dynamics of children’s play and family life.