Yesterday was one of those great days of play that make my heart sing. A bike ride to our local park, a scene of childhood bliss awaited us.
Two girls had set up a lemonade stand, and were doing a roaring trade.
Our son stood watching two older boys playing soccer, using nearby trees as goal posts. One comment about how to play, and he was in. No coaches, no uniforms, no painted pitch. The three of them played by their own rules for a good half hour before refreshments were needed from the now-dwindling stocks at the lemonade stand…
The boys were called to go home, and the humidity was making me wonder if it wasn’t time for us to do the same. But a breeze arrived, and brought with it a boy walking through the park with a big stick in his hand. Quick as a flash, our sweaty son headed off to make another friend.
“Can you help me find a stick like that one?” our son asked.
“You can have this one. I want the log at the top of the hill,” came the reply.
Off they went, to the drain behind the hedge at the top of the ‘hill’. Nothing more than a slight slope to us adults, it holds place as a seat of triumph for the kids who scale it. A hedge bordering the nearby drain and quiet street is the next challenge for those who dare to climb to the peak, inviting all kinds of hunting in the drain, hidden from view.
The log was retrieved from the drain, poked at, rolled around, and left in the drain for another explorer to discover. Wayward palm fronds were collected from around the park, tree bark was poked at. Constant chatter accompanied them, though I have no idea about what. Losing each other for a while, our son came back to ask if I had seen his friend. “I think he’s near The Vine”.
The Vine holds a special place in our park. You could be mistaken for thinking someone in National Parks had specially designed it as part of the park equipment. It is sometimes swing, sometimes rope, sometimes ladder. Every kid knows it.
Completely self-directed, meandering, outdoor, creative play – such a great day of play.