Amusements, may be divided into public and private; and they are either of an active or sedentary nature. The former usually consist of bails, plays, entertainments, etc.; the latter, of the various diversions of cards, chess, back-gammon, and other games of chance or skill.
Those of an active kind ought always to be preferred, as they not only relieve the mind, when wear with intense application, or depressed with grief; but by their agreeable variety, together with the advantages of air, exercise, etc. they are highly conducive to health. On this accqunt, they are particularly serviceable to such persons as are subject to nervous and hypochondriacal complaints, and to all those who lead a confined or sedentary life. Private amusements, on the contrary, are principally employed with a view to consume time, and frequently require more application than either study or business. Those amusements which afford the most violent exercise, and ought, therefore, to be pursued Only by the healthy and robust, are hunting, shooting, cricket-playing, hand-ball, and similar games. When these are undertaken with the necessary adaptation to the strength of the individual, they promote perspiration and other secretions, expand the lungs, and give firmness and agility to the whole frame.— See Gaming, and Theatre.
With respect to the amusements of children, We shall here only remark, that they may be compared to the labours and pursuits of adults; and that their influence, as well on health, as on the future inclinations and desires of the individual, is much greater, and more permanent, than is generally supposed. Hence we would advise parents and guardians to encourage no games, or play-things, which have a tendency to impair the constitution, or deprave the morals, of their offspring: of this nature are, improper and unnatural postures or gesticulations of the body; wanton jumping up and down high places; forcible exertions of muscular power, by lifting great weights and carrying ponderous bodies; the partial exercise of one arm or leg ; sedentary plays of long duration; the standing for hours on their legs; musical wind-instruments ; toys manufactured by common potters or made of plaister of Paris; drink-ing-vessels of lead, pewter, white iron, bell-metal, or earthen-ware imperfectly burnt and glased; playthings coloured or painted with, noxious metallic preparations, such as verdigreasc, orpiment, minium, as well as those 3 and similar trifles produced by the confectioner, etc. etc.—On this interesting subject, which cannot fail to engage the attention of every judicious parent, we presume to refer the reader to a work lately published, from the German of Dr. Struvk, entitled "A Familiar Treatise on the Physical Education of dren;" with three Introductory Lectures, and Notes, by the Editor of this Encyclopaedia.