It was believed that good health promotes learning, as the body and the soul is indivisible. This theory called for recreation and play to go hand-in-hand with studying and working. Recreation does not only mean playtime. Using the popular theory of the body and soul during the Renaissance, it can be assumed that recreation gives the soul and the body its strength as the exercises toughens the body and studying expands one’s knowledge. One cannot learn if all one does is work or study. The mind and the body may be nourished with wisdom and knowledge but the body is not prepared to face the battles and challenges that the everyday life gives. How can one study then if the body is weak? Thus, the need for a physically fit body and sound mind is important in living well during the Renaissance. This belief goes hand-in-hand with the importance of human life and the value placed on dignity and individuality.
During the Renaissance, the distinction between children and adults were blurred. Children were believed to have no importance in the society because of their lack of strength and knowledge (Hughes p.9). Only the elite members of the society has the chance to take on their education at a young age, the rest were off to work. Just the same with work, recreation, playing games and chanting nursery rhymes were done by everyone, children and adults alike.
Recreation was not only part of the people’s way of living, as part of their relaxation and spiritual renewal. Recreation became a part of education, too (Hinds p.60). Since it was believed that recreation is a way to nourish one’s spirit and body, it was included in the study program of young children.
Recreation and pastime during the Renaissance ranged from animal sports to celebrating feasts. Though their activities differ, the period has shown many types of recreation and pastimes that were to strengthen the body, as well as, nourish the soul.