We were invited by the wonderful folk at LeftCoast to run a couple of Fire and Den Building sessions in one of the residential areas in Blackpool, UK. On this occasion, Pop-Up’s Board Member, Andy, came to assist on the session as we playworkers never work alone, especially not when there are fires involved. It’s always good practice to work with another playworker, to protect yourself and the children, and to have someone to share your reflections with after the session.
Unfortunately, the first day was rained off. It’s particularly difficult to start a fire in the middle of a rainy waterlogged field. Fortunately for us, the second day was gloriously sunny. Here are some photos of our fire and den building session:
This was the first time we have worked in this area, and the small group that came really seemed to enjoy themselves. We’re hoping that this will be the start of many play sessions in this area, and are leaving it in the capable hands of LeftCoast to promote more outdoor play.
I think there were only about 7 children at the most during the session, which is a small but good size. Sometimes I prefer working with a smaller group of children. The play is a little more intense, and as a playworker, I somehow have to be more alert. I have to rely on my playworker skills to negotiate play frames, and to respond to play cues when they present themselves. The secret and amazing side benefit of becoming hyper-aware of my own actions is that I then become a witness to many tiny play moments which might otherwise be missed if I didn’t have my playworker hat on. It’s the day after the session as I type this blogpost. I ache everywhere and I still smell vaguely of wood smoke. That to me is also a sign of a good session.
Andy looked like he had a great time too – a little sunburnt by the end, and happily tired. It was a great opportunity for both of us to step away from computers, paperwork and adults, and actually do a little bit of playwork. We look forward to more exciting adventures in Blackpool – watch this space!