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Jumping in puddles and other goods of childhood
  1. John Massie1,2
  1. 1 Children's Bioethics Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr John Massie, Children's Bioethics Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC 3052, Australia; John.Massie{at}

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‘When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles.’ —Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne

Jumping in puddles on a rainy day is a pleasurable activity of childhood although I rarely do it now. Jumping in puddles has no practical purpose yet is full of significance and meaning. Therefore, this is an ideal activity to consider the goods of childhood. Recently, philosophers have considered the goods of childhood; whether such goods exist, what these goods might be and how they might be distinct from other human goods, and whether adults have a duty to provide these goods to children.1–5

The goods of childhood, which include things such as unstructured play, wonder and innocence help us to understand childhood, children and the child in front of us. Furthermore, they help us understand the special moral status of the child, which generally leads us to preference children in our society. The goods of childhood go beyond the mere necessities of life or education which are enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC). The goods capture the essence of childhood and what sets it apart from adulthood. The UNCRC is important and does include the right to play (Article 31), but is otherwise rather soulless, pragmatic and future orientated. However, in guaranteeing protection from the state or exploitative adults, the UNCRC guarantees a secure platform for the goods of childhood to exist. I do not think these goods are just a Western, first world, sentimental aspiration but are of real benefit to children, even if not all children can have them.

It seems a pity for the …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.