Earth Beat, 27 January 2012. A show full of fun and games. From forest kindergartens and forsaking a childhood in the woods for the concrete of the suburbs, to generating power on a merry-go-round. Oh, and how to play a pig… Fooling around for the sake of our planet, and why it’s important to play.
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Play - what is it, why do we need it and what can we get from it?
Professor Marc Bekoff is an expert in play. Not necessarily that of humans, but the signals used by a dog or a bear at play are almost transferable to toddlers. Just with less sharp teeth.
Marc speaks to host Marnie Chesterton about the importance of playing - in humans and animals - and how it helps us in our adult lives.
Children spend less of their time playing in the mud these days and more of their time indoors with media.
But there’s a movement in northern Europe that’s getting kids outside at an early age, with the hope of keeping them there. Waldkindergärtens, or forest kindergartens, are daycares which get kids into the forest, all day, no matter what the weather’s like, without toys. More photos below.
Lilly was born in a forest in Holland. As a baby she crawled around with her brothers exploring dirt and insects and when they grew a bit bigger their play and fantasies knew no limits. They’d run around as knights and princesses and farmers.
This place was a child’s paradise, but the day came when they were forced to up sticks and leave. Lilly and her mum talk about life before they moved to concrete-infested suburbs, and coping with a totally different world. More photos below.
Watch Wild Lilly, a documentary film by Sanne Rovers (Dutch language only):
Tim Dedopulos, aka The Puzzle Master, was in love with atlases as a kid.
It’s a game, but one that helps people explore the planet. And win €50,000 too. More photos below.
Click to enter The Great Google Treasure Hunt on Google Earth (competition closes March 31, 2012)
Ben Markham is a former engineer who has harnessed the power of play, and used it to generate light in remote Ghanaian villages, by installing merry-go-rounds.
We spoke to him about how much energy the average child produces, and to a teacher at a school on an island where there’s no electricity, about how the lanterns have changed life in the village. More photos below.
Now, we all know you can play with animals – but it turns out you can also play the beasts themselves.
He tells Marnie how he sampled sounds of its journey from pigsty to the plate, hoping to get people to think about food consumption and bigger questions of life and death. More photos below.
Listen to One Pig here.