A Cup of Tea Can go a Long Way

By Rachel

Well, it’s been a while!

Hello again from your Scottish friends at Kids Play, I bet you’re jealous of all this sun we’ve been having! (Funnily enough we did actually have quite a hot summer, but we all complained it was “too hot on the buses”, so I reckon the sun got offended and sauntered off…or however the sun moves…) Anyway!

We’ve had an absolutely great time at Kids Play! We started the year with an interactive storytelling group for toddlers (muchos cuteness), then a week long summer project (we let them go home after each day…we didn’t make them stay for the whole week… Or did we…?)

No, we didn’t.

We’ve settled into a lovely new venue in the East End, at the Calton Heritage and Learning Centre. Here we run a creative play/sensory group for 0-2’s (mucho muchos cuteness) and an interactive storytelling/creative group for 2-4’s (I’ve ran out of muchos, but you get the idea).

Planning workshops for such young children brings with it a host of new and exciting challenges. Many questions must be asked before allowing babies to play with “sensory props”, questions such as:

1. Will they eat it? (Probably)

2. In that case, is it ok for them to eat it?

3. Will they poke themselves/another baby in the eye/up the nose with it?

I discovered very early on that the answer to 1 and 3 is almost always “yes”, and that’s ok, because everything is tested out before we bring it in – and yes that does mean sitting in on a Friday night playing the baby trumpet with wild abandon, much to the despair of my neighbours and actual baby, whose trumpet I have stolen.

On a serious note, it may seem like Kids Play is a place of fun and creativity (which it is, of course), but we also aim to be a place of support for parents and kinship carers. Having kids is hard work, and it can be the loneliest job in the world; and so while we provide a creative environment for the kids, it’s also a caring one for the adults. Sometimes having a conversation with another adult can really make your day that bit better (newborn babies may be adorable, but their conversational skills leave a lot to be desired). If a mum needs a bit of reassurance with her nappy-phobic 1 year old, we’re there. If a dad needs to share his woes of the notorious “teething poos”, we’re there. If a granny is exhausted from trying to keep her 3 year old grandson entertained and can’t deal with yet another episode of Peppa Pig, we’re there. If we can create a safe space for youngsters and adults to explore their inner artist/ drama queens and perform Beyonce-esque renditions of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, then that’s good enough for us.

Sometimes a cup of tea goes a long way.

On that note, I’m away to stick the kettle on.

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International House,

Brixton, England

 

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