By Nicole Burke
We met Nicole when we were on tour in Australia and had a great time with her and Justine, together known as Journey Into Play. They have just started a new side project called Frolic where they are hoping to run Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds in their locality. We’re delighted that Nicole was able to take time out of her busy schedule to reflect on their first ever Pop-Up as she and Justine prepare to go on tour themselves.
“Thick cloud over Victoria with a low pressure trough and cold front is causing showers and storms, some severe. Low cloud in the southwest corner with brisk onshore winds is producing frequent showers”. Someone forgot to inform the bureau of meteorology that our first ever Frolic – Pop Up Play event was happening today. We knew that the play must go on, so we moved the event from the green luscious (and now wet) meadows of Ferguson’s Paddock to the ‘weather proof’ Hurstbridge Bowls Club.
Driving up the dirt road, through huge muddy puddles I was honking my car horn with excitement. As I arrived I saw my fellow play enthusiast Justine Walsh jumping in the air with joy! We were ready to get the show on the road.
By the time we had moved our ‘loose parts’ into the club we were soaking wet but nothing was going to dampen our spirits. Especially when people started to arrive right on 10am carrying boxes and items they had collected in hard rubbish!
Children and parents not only embraced it, they loved it! Parents couldn’t stop thanking us and talking to us about how great it all was. They were keen to find out more – Why are you doing this? When will the next one be? Please come back to Hurstbridge for it!
Before we knew, it was time to pack up, and return the Hurstbridge Bowls Club back to its members. Wow, what a day, as we sat down to reflect on the event, a question was posed “What was your favourite moment?”
This made me stop and think for a little while. It went by so quick, non-stop playing, constantly happening, my initial answer was that the whole experience was my favourite. But then I started to recall specific moments that stood out for me.
During the event, I would scan the room at times taking it all in. One of these times is when I noticed a child, around 8 years old, sitting in a box. She was looking around the room at everything. She smiled and screamed out loud “this is awesome”. I felt her joy. Her realization that she could do whatever she wanted.
Annabel has just recently turned 2 learnt a new word at Frolic -”Junk”. Loved it.
Annabel was playing with her mum and using the large gloves. My daughter Sophia, who is a few days younger than Annabel, observed this play, turned around, and walked over to source herself an industrial grade glove, almost her size. Once she found the glove, she returned to join in the play. This was a simple but special moment.
These are just a few of my favourite moments. Though there are too many to keep sharing.
Lots of reflecting has occurred both personally and with Justine, since we all enjoyed Frolic. Things that could be done differently next time, things that may have been different had we been outside in an open space, things we may personally do differently in our role, what we had thought our role would have been and what it turned out to be.
Overall, I was so happy and proud of the Frolic and the Hurtsbridge community coming together for the purpose of play. To see everyone having fun, including the parents but especially the children. Children of all ages – babies to early teens.