I guess there are very few status updates these days on Facebook that don’t express, to various degrees, disappointment with the wintery weather the UK has had of late. And coupled with that, quite a few from youngsters and not so young who enter “I’m sooooo bored!”
It made me think of the last few weeks since the Jubilee and the state of my house – the latter looking like a bomb has hit it because… I spent most of my time outdoors!
The rain and mud and wind haven’t dampened our Jubilee celebrations: we were part of Brixfest, where we with FUNK had a whale of a time with a Right Royal Treasure Hunt. I can tell you, my face hurt from so much laughing at having pretty much everyone on the Stand in Brixham singing the God Save the Queen, inpromptu! Was it windy? YES. Was it cold? YES. Was it wet? It did rain a bit. On the same day, we travelled to Hele’s Street Party for a few more hours of fun: the weather didn’t stop the closure of an entire Street by Hele’s Angels and at least 300 children outside having their faces painted, having a meal all together, singing, dancing, art and crafting and Playing!
We had a tremendous time at the South West Play Celebration in Taunton. Wind, rain, a weeeeeeeee bit of sun… it made no difference: it was a whole fantastic day of play!
Our Adventure Playgrounds have been full of energetic children and young people. Considering that for instance, Fort Apache has no covered areas whatsoever – apart from a very small and rather full old container - we’ve had fantastic sessions under copious rain with really large numbers of children and young people totally unphased by the weather. How and doing what, I hear you ask? check it out here. The sheer fun the youngsters had putting up old tarpaulins, creating the most amazing “rooms”-come-dens so that we ended up with a kitchen, a green woodwork room, a craft room, a sitting area… Everyone found something to play with, everyone was wet and caked in mud and everyone was happy!
I don’t think I’ll forget a young person standing alone outside one of our playgrounds with a large umbrella over her. She couldn’t see what was going on for the trees but was smiling listening to the fun that the others were having. I asked her what her name was and told her she was very welcome to come in and join us. But her meek answer was “I’m not allowed to get muddy”…. The next few minutes would have made Gok very proud: we got her to go home and get her dad’s wellies (she didn’t have any of her own) and we made a rather snazzy outfit out of bin liners for her, so that every inch of clothing was covered. She was beamed and said “My mum won’t get cross, now!”.
My point is clothing can be washed and children do not melt with rain… Play is as important as eating, drinking – let’s spread that message!