I went round to my parents’ house for last night. As it happened, they were babysitting my four year-old niece, Karen. She was massively excited to regale me with descriptions of her recent trip to this novelty playground where her mate just had a birthday party. At first I kind of tuned out, because how exciting could it really be? Kids should be playing outside among the trees, right?
Mum ended up twisting my arm into listening, though – she knew I’d be interested. You see, I’m in the process of adding things to my house that force me to get around in creative ways. Think a rope ladder up to the balcony, and a firies pole and climbing wall as an alternative to the stairs. It’s just something I’m trying out, and I don’t care if it sounds bizarre. Anyway, turns out this indoor active play centre in Croydon is right up my alley – if I was aged 1-11, that is.
Karen told me about a few of the different features, including a 4-level climbing frame, a “really fast” 3-lane slide, an jumping castle and a pirate ship. Now, why shouldn’t I have things like that in my home? It sounds like so much fun, and I don’t understand why more adults aren’t hanging out for undirected playtime on fantastical equipment. It’s like everyone forgets how exciting that stuff is as soon as they turn 13 or so.
It’s pretty cool that there are places like the one Karen was on about, which by the sounds of it, encourage grown-up companions to get active on the equipment with their kids (plus there’s a cafe to keep them from collapsing in a heap after twenty minutes). And it’s good to know that there’s a great kids party venue in Melbourne. I’m happy that Karen likes being active as well.
What I want to know is, why do we build spaces for adults that limit our creativity in terms of how we move through them? Why do we promote systems of dress, behaviour and socialising that make it wrong to climb on things?