Why Kids Don’t Play Anymore


The brand-new subdivisions of Toronto roll on and on into the cornfields, a new one every month. I drive by them all the time. This is where young families live. But the streets and sidewalks are eerily quiet. You hardly ever see a child. No kids riding bikes. No kids playing shinny. No kids running wild in packs until their moms call them in for supper. It’s as if the kids have vanished.

Where are they? Indoors, doing homework or playing Nintendo. In all-day kindergarten or regulated daycare. Instead of pickup street hockey, they’re playing organized sports with regularly scheduled practices and games, supervised by grown-ups. They’re at Kumon or dance or art, or swimming or tae kwon do. The children of the upper middle class are busy, busy, busy, with schedules that would rival that of any CEO.

It never stops. In high school, they start building their résumés for university. Community service? Check. Sports? Check. Squeeze in a part-time job.

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