One of the greatest problems arising out of the social, economic, and industrial conditions of our society is the wise use of spare time.  This problem is of vital importance not only for the individual bur for society.  Most people are now faced with fewer working hours and therefore more spare time.  With a shorter working day, a personís physical and mental resources are not exhausted.  Choosing how to use this extra time wisely is difficult because of the richness of the options available: sources of amusement, facilities for games and sports, centers of art and music, libraries, and schools where various skills may be learned.


Relation to Increased Production and Consumption

The function of leisure is largely determined by the kind and amount of free time and by the ideas of the age.  When spare time consists of short breaks between long periods of sustained labor, its function is thought of as recreation Ė relaxing the worker so that he can work more efficiency after the break.  When the goals are efficiency of work, increased production, more power and more wealth, the function of leisure is the same Ė to increase the productive power of the worker.  The purpose behind the measures taken by many employers to secure better homes for their employees, better working conditions, restrooms, and recreation is a higher standard of production.

Relation to Human Development

The function of leisure described above fails to touch the fundamental purpose of all education and of all society.  This is the development of the complete individual.  The goal is a social order in which each individual shall be able to realize the fullest potential of which he is capable and be recognized by others for what he is, regardless of the circumstances in which he was born.

Functions Today

The dominating function of leisure cannot continue to be merely recreation of further work and increase in consumption of goods, but must center upon appreciation, creation, and service since by such means the development of the individual may be secured.


Leisure time activities comprise the entire range of human endeavor, for what is career activity to one person may be a leisure-time activity to another.  In general, leisure activities include hobbies, avocations, sports, recreation, reading, music, arts and crafts, and the entire range of creative work.  They also involve forms of non-career public and personal service.

Escape Activities

Escape activities are those engaged in as a way to release from the daily routine of labor; they are calculated to make a person forget.  They must, therefore, be absorbing and as different as possible from the activities of a personís career.  They are, in a real sense, often re-creative, for they use muscles and nerve centers not used in the usual daily tasks.  By far the great majority of men and women employ their leisure time in ways that are purely or largely escape activities.  Commercialized recreation is largely given over to this type of activity and, therefore, a real need for definite attention to and planning for the other constructive forms of leisure-time activity exists.

General Cultural and Appreciation Activities

General cultural and appreciation activities are those engaged in to broaden the outlook; widen the horizon; keep in touch with world movement or scientific developments; enjoy music, art or literature; and maintain and deepen a personís intellectual, moral and spiritual nature.

Creative Activities

Creative activities are those in which a person actively creates.  The field of such activities is wide and offers opportunity for everyone.  This category would include the production or composition of music, painting and sculpture; working in wood, metal and other materials; cooking, dressmaking and embroidery; writing and any other activity in which the person is not a spectator but actually produces something, whether it is valuable or not.

Service Activities

Service activities, or things done for others, would include personal service for a member of the family of a friend; public service for the city, state, nation, or world; and activities for various clubs and social groups.  Many creative activities also become service activities.


In choosing among leisure-time activities, no one type should be engaged in exclusively.  Everyone should select some of each type of activity that leads to actual development.  For some, selecting an escape activity may even be wise, but it should not be the major part of a personís choice. 

Choice of Escape Activities

To a person burdened with care and anxiety, who works long, hard hours, escape activities may restore health and ease the mind.  When such activities are chosen, they should be as different as possible form activities in the daily job.  Therefore, a person who works indoors should choose a leisure that requires physical effort and a person who works outdoors might choose an indoor, relatively quiet leisure-time activity.

Choice of Service Activities

Contributing to the well-being and development of others is the purpose of service activities.   Common citizenship duties may be viewed as a form of service activities.  Service opportunities are available in business clubs, womenís clubs, parent-teacher associations, church organizations, and welfare drives, to mention only a few.  The service occupations of teaching ministry, medicine, social work and law provide opportunities for all three forms of leisure activities Ė culture and appreciation, creation and service.

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