National Play Day

With a career span of 19 years involvement in Playwork, this journey continues to inspire me. Working in four different London boroughs, and attending numerous Play Days, this year was always going to be special.

National Play Day is a celebration of children’s rights to play. It’s a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives, and this year I was part of this celebration with Barnet Playrangers

It’s summer. It’s been baking BBM *happy face*:  Sit back and observe, and reflect upon your child’s play opportunities. Look at their play behaviour, take a few steps back, and think back to images you had when you were young, or images you would like to have had. Think what’s available for your child.

Now can they access them? and how can they use them? Can they run? Can they jump? Can they climb? Are their sounds around them of varied intensity? Is their anything to dress up in? Can they perform? Can they build? Can they deconstruct? Is their flexibility in which they can play? Is their play uninterupted?

Try and make your child be at the centre of the play process, and encourage them to use their imagination. We need to take our children back to the day’s when they were not’battery reared’. Hide that DS. Hide that Wii. Hide that PSP. Hide that PS3. Or restrict there playing time on them. Better still I’m sure I’ll need something to do after posting this blog, and will be happy to use all your children’s consoles to entertain myself.

Get down to the parks and estates and explore the borough of Barnet, with Barnet Playrangers offering free open access play opportunities for all ages

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=203215156402111081681.0004a7dbfdb3449b14443&z=12

Bring a packed lunch or pop down for an hour or two with your child, and let them try their hands at manipulating the ‘loose parts’ available. Re-create some of the images at your home, within your garden, front room, passage, or kitchen. Find that space, and bring it to life. Open it. Use that unused item, resource, material, and let your imagination go.

Take a break. Climb, crawl, roll with your child. Observe it. Speak about it. Let your child be in control while you facilitate their play.

Allow your child to look for places of inspiration. Let them search for places to hide. Places of height. Places of depth. Places with varied colours. Places of varied sizes. Mmmm… throw in a little water. There is no need to be practical. Bin practicality, and take logic for a walk. The purpose is not to have a goal. It should be timeless.

Take a leaf out of my book and enjoy the summer with your child.

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