Play Times. Do you remember when time was measured with dandelion clocks?

Do children still do that now?

PATH is running a project which invites local communities to gather together and share memories of their childhood playing. Through this process we aim to look at how important free play is in childhood, to look at the similarities between playing all over the world and to think about how our children are playing today.

We believe that children are missing out on their playing now. Especially in this urban landscape, time and space to experience freely chosen play, in a natural  environment is a rare event.  After school clubs, sports activities and such are not the same thing as play. They do not give children the same chance to experience and understand their worlds in the same way.

Through sharing our memories and thinking about the  lack of playing in our children’s lives today, we can work together to find ways to support kids in discovering a rich play world on their doorstep.  We are particularly concerned with the opportunities that children with disabilities have to experience their play with their peers in places very close to their homes.

Play Times offers a chance for communities to do something to improve the world for their children now.  There will be opportunities for training, planned sessions with playworkers to kick start new initiatives, access to scrap stores, information and continuing support.  We will work with communities to identify the physical changes they feel are needed to their open spaces and help them to find funding to make those changes with the support of people who make it their business to understand the most successful ways to create a play space.  We will be holding exhibitions based on our shared work for those of you who are willing to contribute.

The playing of children is not only an indicator of the health and well being of a community, but a catalyst for that health.  It is the responsibility of all of us to rekindle its flame.

The project is funded through Play Matters, locally distributed Big lottery Funding in LAPs 5 & 6 to address the high levels of play deprivation in this area and in LAP 5 with the emphasis of the gathering of play memories and the provision of training for communities through Action for Bow.  We thank our sponsors and you for agreeing to work with us.







4 Responses to “Our Project Mission Statement”

  1. Hello,

    I am from a design studio called Mortar&Pestle. Recently we re-designed a playground in Southwark. The park was co-designed with the help of the local residents as a project to see if this way of forward thinking in urban design can have a beneficial effect on the community.

    After talking with the local residents and children we made an exciting new and very unusual park. The effect that this park has had on the community is staggering.

    After almost a year of planning, development and building the park is ready to be re-opened.

    We are having an opening ceremony on Tuesday 7th July at 6PM and we would like to invite you.

    The address is:
    Kipling Park
    Burwash House
    Weston Street
    London SE1 3HN

    If you would like to see some images please email me.

    Thanks Rich

  2. Penny Wilson Says:

    I have just come back from the US Play Coalition in Clemson University in South Carolina.
    It was great to hear people from so many professionsmgetting together to advocate for play.
    I was doing a keynote presentation and much of it was based around this work that Play Times is doing. Most interestingly perhaps was a presentation about the right of the child to play. Human rights were translated by Tracy Waters, and a suggestion ade of ways in which these rights could be translated into neighbourhood action. Guess what? It was just what this team and this project is doing! This was re- enforced by Danielle from Kaboom. The problems and the solutions are the same here and in the US.
    So why is it still such a battle?
    Why do we have such a struggle to get people in our own place to listen to us when our work is an inspiration to the second American play movement?

    1. Joann Nichols Says:

      Hi, Penny
      I am a displaced education professor in NH. hoping to consult with schools about their play environments and communicate with parents about the importance of play. How do I start?

    2. playeverything Says:


      That Conference was very interesting – I was glad to hear the talk of children’s rights to play, because I think that’s something that’s been missing in the US for a long time.

      It is still a battle, on both soils, but I think that projects such as Play Times really articulate what makes play so special, in ways that reach right into people’s hearts (and the memories they keep tucked in the back of their heads).

      Your keynote was excellent! 🙂

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