This film is part of Free

Your Children's Play

Need some post-war parenting advice? Then this is the film for you.

Children's 1951 20 mins


Paging all parents! Need some post-war childrearing advice? Then this is the film for you. It was an instalment in the Your Children series of films produced between 1945 and 1951, dealing with various facets of children's health - in this case, the importance of play to both mental and physical development. The surprise is not that much of it has amusingly dated – of course it has – but how much still feels enlightened and applicable today.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Health through the Central Office of Information, the series was produced by the Realist Film Unit, whose staff director Brian Smith became something of a specialist at filming children. His films are a fine gauge of how far progressive thinking could be expressed within the common sense of the period: children in these films are to be respected as individuals in their own right, with imaginations to be cherished rather than merely tolerated. This said, Smith undoubtedly appreciated that do-gooding films risked rubbing viewers the wrong way - a pitfall he negotiated with a conversational tone and all-round good humour.