Once upon a time I was a Playground Leader in Halifax. I was assigned the Titus Smith Playground in Fairview which was down the street from my home at the time. This was the early 90s and there was NO EQUIPMENT on the playground! Literally. It was a big field with some trees and large rocks and...that was it.
Every morning I dragged my giant canvas bag full of balls, toys, and crafts, and stuffed my back pockets full of ideas for games and activities and walked the five minutes down the road to the playground. The neighbourhood kids would see me and tumble out of their homes to follow along behind me - I was the Pied Playground Piper of Fairview.
It was a challenging job but turned out to be fun and how can spending a summer outside be bad? Kids could come and go as they wanted but most of them stayed all day with me and become my little buddies. In fact, years later after I'd moved from the neighbourhood and started my own grown-up life, one of them ended up in my Admissions Office at the university I worked for!
Playground Leaders are no more, sadly, but this summer the Recreation department has started a program called the R.E.C. Van (Recreation, Engaging, Communities) and it and it's staff are cruising around the communities and stopping at playgrounds with their canvas bags full of balls, toys, and crafts and back pockets stuffed full of ideas for games and activities. Basically, travelling Playground Leaders! I love this idea because playgrounds are important for kids for so many reasons and there are over 400 in the HRM so you know there's one near you!
Be sure to check out the schedule and take your children to visit them when they're in your neighbourhood. Perhaps you'll get some new ideas you can use with your children on your next solo playground visit.
Do you have a favourite playground in the HRM? What is it? Do you take extra toys or activities to the playground or just let the equipment run the show?