Here is a true gem from the archives of play: extended video footage of Lady Allen of Hurtwood. Lady Allen is the foremost figure in the history of children’s play in the UK (I reviewed her classic Planning for Play – available as a pdf from the marvellous Playscapes blog – in a previous post). The video focuses on the staffed adventure playgrounds Lady Allen created in the 1960s and 1970s to provide play opportunities for disabled children, some of which continue today under the management of the charity Kids. Some health warnings: at times the language used in the video to describe the children is old-fashioned, inappropriate, and even offensive to today’s ears – though in Lady Allen’s day the terms were standard. Also, the video is somewhat grainy and jumpy. Oh – and Lady Allen’s accent could cut glass at 20 paces. But do not let any of this put you off, or you will miss out on as clear a manifesto for adventurous play as you are ever likely to see.
Today I took a phone call from a television news channel asking me to comment on this Youtube video.
The clip is not for the faint-hearted. It shows 22-year-old James Kingston climbing up a tower crane in Southampton, then hanging by one hand off one of the crane’s bars, with a 250 foot drop beneath him. The reporter wanted me to condemn Kingston’s actions as likely to encourage copycat behaviour and put children at risk. The call made me think: what is going on when children or young people carry out acts of extreme danger, and how should we respond?
Here’s a seasonal activity for you, with a hint – or more than a hint – of adventure: leaf-pile-diving.
Posted in Learning, Nature, Outdoor play, Risk
Tagged adventure, autumn, deep play, freedom, nature, nature play, Risk, video
Do you want to enjoy all the presentations from last month’s Open for Play seminar – on designing for play in playgrounds, streets and public spaces – from the comfort of your own office (or living room, studio, or bedroom)? Well, here is your chance. The full programme of formal presentations is now available to view online in glorious video and audio.
Posted in Outdoor play, Play spaces, playground, Public space, Urbanism
Tagged child-friendly cities, design, EC1, Islington, London, Olympic park, Olympics, open for play, play space, playground, urban design, video
Here’s a video of a young boy being taught to ride a bike. (It’s in Dutch – but you really don’t need to know the language.)
Posted in Learning, Mobility, Parenting, Public space, Risk
Tagged cycling, mobility, Netherlands, parent, Risk, streets, urban design, video