I’m completely frazzled, I’ve been busy all day and now I’m tired. I’m trying to cook tea and oversee a game of Frustration, appropriately enough, and the children are bickering. I swallow my shouts, but feel my scalp tightening over my skull. They’re full of end of school bouncing off the walls energy and they could really do with a good run around. But I can’t face the traipse to the common, and anyway, it’ll make bedtime late, so I switch on the TV. Again. I wish I could just shove them out of the door to play, but no one does that any more, do they.
Except they do. This week I discovered Playing Out. It’s run by a couple of mums in Bristol who started small, by getting their own street closed for a couple of hours after school one day, and now help others organise the same. Streets all over Bristol close for play on a monthly basis, some on a weekly basis. There’s no agenda for the children, they can do what they want, but with space to do it in. It sounds bloody marvellous.
Our street is full of children, but they don’t know each other well. They’re all slightly different ages and they go to a number of different schools. Our children play with the next door neighbours, usually throwing water bombs over the fence at each other, but it’s restricted by the size of our gardens and my desire to keep the fence in one piece. I love the idea of them forging new friendships over a love of skateboarding, sitting on the kerb with an ice lolly, running off steam before tea.
Sounds good doesn’t it? Who’s with me?