Children’s games are very general; those of Germany are also found in England, France, etc. They are based on a certain natural tendency of children; in that of the blind man’s buff, for example, they understand how they could manage if they were deprived of a sense. The pawn is a particular game; Yet these children’s games provide men with material for further reflections, and sometimes also an occasion for important inventions. Thus, Segner has written a dissertation on the pawn, and the pawn has given an English captain the motive to invent a mirror, by which the height of the stars can be measured on the ship.
Children like loud instruments, for example, trumpets, drums, etc. But these are worthless, because they annoy others. However, it would be something else if they themselves learned to cut a reed to be able to play.
The swing is also a good exercise, adults themselves use it for their health and only children need to be watched, because the movement can be very fast. The kite is also a harmless game; it educates skill, because lifting it too high depends on the position taken with respect to the wind.
The boy withdraws from other needs for the pleasure of these games, and thus gradually learns to do without other more serious ones. In addition, he acquires the habit of a continuous occupation. Nor should they be mere games, but must have an intention and an end. The more your body is thus fortified and tanned, the more it is insured against the pernicious results of it. Gymnastics should only guide Nature; it must not produce forced grace. Discipline must come first and not instruction. But it is necessary to consider that in the culture of the child’s body it is also formed for society. Rousseau says: “You will not be able to form whole men if you do not play rogues first.” A good man can be made better of an awake boy than a prudent man of an indiscreet man. The child must not be importunate in society, and less, flattering; he will be, prompted by others, confided without importunity, frank without impertinence. The means of achieving this is not to pamper him at all, nor to give him a concept of social conveniences, because he will become shy and wild, or will suggest, on the other hand, the idea of making himself stand up. Nothing is more ridiculous than the presumptuous modesty or the indiscreet vanity of children.