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Ideas for pavement play

posted this in Children's play, health and wellbeing, Street Space on 31/07/2020

Need some inspiration for those long days at home in the summer ? Plenty of things require lots of money or a car of course but our suggestions won’t need either. Here are a few simple childhood classics that children around the UK are still enjoying on their doorsteps.

1. Bubbles

Who doesn’t love bubbles? Here’s a recipe for giant ones from parent and street organiser Jo Chesterman:

  • 1 Litre Water
  • 70 ml Fairy Platinum Washing Up Liquid* (*we’ve tried others, this is the best)!
  • 30 ml Glycerine

Get a big wand and tray or make your own with string & sticks. Great fun in gardens and parks too.

2. Chalking

Who can do the best chalk picture? What about the longest Hopscotch – we’ve seen some ‘100-ers’ in our time. Or why not make up your own game? Chalk is brilliant: it’s cheap, colourful, fat or thin, and available in lots of big stores. It stays long enough to make a mark but washes off with rain or a bucket of water. Check out the Chalk Challenges that Jo once ran at her local school for inspiration.

 

3. Nature on the Street

Woodland and parks are wonderful for children, but they usually need parents or cars to help children get to them, if they can go at all. Nature on the other hand is all around us, even in the inner city, and the sharp eyes of children need only be tuned to find it: insects, birds, weeds and flowers growing through cracks, the sky…  Early on in Playing Out’s journey, we held some nature hunting on the street and in front gardens and took some photos – have a look at both for some inspiration.  Or take a look at Our Wild Lives – a free journey of discovery that anyone can take part in this summer, created by our friends Wild Tots in Wales.

4. Rubbings

All this needs is some paper and crayons and the challenge to get as many different rubbings as possible from outside your home. Pavements, walls, lamp-posts, drain covers.. all give different patterns and shapes for adults and others to guess later.  Take a look at the short creative making films our friends at Room 13 Hareclive made for children during lockdown needing only a sheet of paper and pencil – including one on rubbings.

You can find more inspiration and easy ideas in The Little Book of Playing Out by parents and street organisers Jo Chesterman and Kate Staniforth and also on this list of easy and effortless things to do on your street.

The best thing about playing out on your street is having other children to play with, when that can be done safely. Play street sessions – when they are possible again (and they already are in some areas) – help neighbouring children get to know each other. So this could be a good time to start looking into it. See our Play Streets and Covid-19 page and read Lucy in Peckham’s story for inspiration. When it’s possible, closing your street to traffic and opening it up for play will let you all get the bikes, scooters, balls and neighbours out. Get in touch if you need any help…

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