Recreation is a vital and significant segment of living and is essential in a democratic society. It is a positive social force in the lives of everyone, particularly young people. Recreation must receive major attention in planning for the conservation and development of youth and in the prevention and control of juvenile delinquency.
All human behavior is motivated by desires to serve, to gain or to give expression and to create. Recreation appears to be the outlet for all these desires.
The basic characteristics of recreation are as follows.
Recreation always consists of some activity. The action may be physical, mental or emotional and it is distinguished from rest. These actions may not always be visible externally. Leisure may result in idleness, but recreation involves action and activity.
No Single form:
Different persons give different interpretations and definitions of recreation. This is because the desires, wishes and tastes of people vary so greatly concerning things which are enjoyable and satisfying. There is end to the range of leisure time activities. So it is a folly to define recreation as a given list of activities. The boundaries of recreation cannot be circumscribed.
Determined by Motivation:
Whether an activity is recreation or not depends upon the motive or incentive of the participant. If one is motivated by the desire to enjoy then the result of such participation will be personally satisfying to him. So the action is likely to be recreation,
Recreation must be sought and accepted voluntarily. It cannot be superimposed upon personalities. The moment participation becomes compulsory; the activity ceases to be recreation. Recreation is the open road to opportunities for self discovery, self expression, creativity and procreativity, none of which found satisfactory outlets in compulsion.
For providing recreational opportunity the activities may be planned. But there should be complete freedom of choice and action. Of course, voluntary participation and freedom of choice in an activity pre-supposes a mental capacity capable of making such a choice.
Recreation is a physiological and psychological expression of the human mechanism. Recreation has never known limitations of time, place or people. Recreation in one forms or there is ingrained in the mode of individual expression.
Recreation can be organized and unorganized. It can be enjoyed alone or in groups. The degree of systematic arrangement of recreation also varies greatly. It has to single pattern, form or setting.
Need of Recreation:
(i) Recreation is an activity which relieves tensions of body and mind created by monotonous work.
(ii) It stands for such type of leisure time activities which are socially, physically and mentally helpful.
(iii) It is a human need and an important factor for personality development;
(iv) It provides both physical and mental relaxation;
(v) It is an essential element of man’s life without which life becomes dull, dreary and miserable;
(vi) It removes monotony of general education by providing different forms of recreational activities such as painting, dancing, music, physical education etc;
(vii) It provides opportunities to learn new things develop new skills and get new ideas through different activities;
(viii) It provides opportunities for constructive and worthwhile activities.
(ix) It develops a sense of group consciousness and co-operative living by providing scope for participating in group activities.