There’s a great idea which has been developed in Bristol to allow kids the freedom to play outdoors. Just like we used to in the days before everyone had cars and we worried about paedophiles and before parents became over-protective.
Two Bristol mums had the idea to cordon off streets after school to allow children to play outside in an unorganised but supervised setting. The kids do what they want to do, they decide what games to play and who with. And it works.
The council has given them a grant to extend the Playing Out Project and has introduced Temporary Play Street Orders to allow streets to be closed once a week if all the residents agree. People have been very supportive even if they have no children of their own. The Council’s play professional (a sign of the times when we think children don’t know how to play) was surprised that games weren’t organised. It sounds anarchic but it works.
The kids and parents get to know each other better and I think there’s a chance to create a local community spirit.
There’s been much concern of late about children being unable to play outside with schools worried about Health & Safety regulations.
Remember the fuss about the National Trust’s idea of Nature Deficit Disorder?
More seriously lack of natural light has implications for health with worries about vitamin D deficits and the effect on eyesight. And there is also the obesity epidemic partly due to kids not getting any exercise because they don’t play out and are sitting glued to their digital toys. So this project is a winner on so many counts.