22nd January

We had more kids coming to today’s session than in recent weeks, the milder weather enticing people back! We played lots of chase games, and painted, and swung in the hammock chatting and catching up! 

24th January

 At today’s session we played both indoors and out, with lots of painting, play fighting, pretending to be monsters and making monsters too!

29th January

We had a lively session with our regular kids at the first square today, making kites and playing in the hammock, testing how many people it could hold till the net stretched down to the ground! Two new boys joined the session and joined in some games we played with the rope- skipping and doing the limbo game! Masud joined the session today, the girls teased him for sitting down till they got him up and skipping!

The next square was quiet, just 2 girls came out today, we played chase games and hide and seek. At the last square we had our usual kids, the brother and sister. The boy was happy to meet another male play worker and spent most the session with Masud playing chase and building a spider web from sticky tape.

 1st February

Quite a session took place today. A few kids came by and chatted to Inga and Habiba about how they weren’t allowed to stay out long in the cold but did a little painting and chalking while they were there. One girl, who has become a regular over the last few weeks, came with her mum and spent her time playing chase and hide and seek.

3rd February

Loads of kids came today and lots of games were going on at the same time, lots of arts and crafts took place and some ball games and chase. Some of the children chose to use the face paints, transforming each other into butterflies, vampires, etc!

 5th February

It’s been a windswept session! We had plenty of our regular kids at the first square, playing in the hammock and racing about with the kites but no children came out at the next square. The last square was busy again with our regulars and a group of 10 new children joining us to play, they’d walked over from Roman Road and Masud knew them from his other play sessions in their area. A few of them had some attitude, asking why we here as though we shouldn’t be but we had good games with them, playing with the kite and rope. At the end, however, they were annoyed we didn’t agree to let them keep the rope so they went and tied it to a tree with many knots, making it as hard as possible for us to take it either.

 8th February

There was a bright and cheerful atmosphere on the session today and it was a bright day. Quite a few kids joined us and played chasing, painting and swing games. A few kids played at taking Rainer’s hat to make him chase them which turned into a game of ‘It’ with a big group of kids, some younger ones joined in too and were totally part of the game although nobody ‘caught’ them as they were too small to catch anyone else again! Towards the end of the session Inga did some knitting with some of the girls and Rainer and Habiba had a long game of ‘Grandma’s footsteps’. A few of the kids who hadn’t been out for very long through the winter were able to stay for the whole session today. Zoe and Tess (previous play workers for PATH) came back to visit the session which was really nice.

 9th February

Today Rainer, Inga and Tania (a resident volunteer) worked on the session and 11 children came. Painting and jewellery making took place on the wooden table while a boy played football with a couple of girls over on the grass area, saying he would only play football with them because they weren’t ‘girly girls’! A 6 year old girl had a gleeful glitter fight with a 4 year old boy, they had a great time and left the session with shimmering heads of glitter-hair. However, one mum was unhappy that this was wasteful.

 Rainer and Inga had draped kitchen roll across the climbing frame to make it look different today and the kids really liked it, they decorated it further with some thread and coloured it with chalk. When it got dark they found some lights for it and it looked really nice.

 It feels like the kids here know each other well and are mostly pretty nice to each other, at one point the older kids played football being careful of the younger children sat drawing on the paving with chalk.

10th February

Today’s session took place inside today as it rained heavily, one of the children had a bad headache and the others were asked to keep the session quiet for him. Lots of crafts took place, the kids made Valentine’s cards but said they didn’t want to take them to give to anyone so instead we hung them up to display them! There were some nice play with face paints taking place too, the kids began painting Rainer’s face, then did each others. Some children did animals and things, others did abstract designs with lots of little squares and circles.

1 boy had complained of being bored for a while but then began to show Rainer some gymnastics moves on the sofa, falling onto it in a back drop then bouncing back up! The others started joining in (they’re allowed to do this without shoes!) and they made it into a game of running and flipping without touching the arm of the sofa. This game carried on for the best part of an hour yet didn’t get too wild as it often has been when jumping on the sofa games began here! In recent weeks we’ve noticed the kids getting really hyper after having their hot chocolate- we’re hoping to avoid the sugar highs in future by giving them fruit smoothies instead!

At the end of the session, one boy wanted to mop the floor and did a great job of it, he’s someone who’s been rude and testing the boundaries of the play workers to begin with but has had a much calmer couple of weeks now. These sessions feel like they’re getting much happier and more established in general now.

 

12th February

We had several kids coming today and the weather was much milder, making it possible to sit still long enough to do some craft stuff again! We turned a large piece of white fabric into a colourful montage of many children’s drawings with bright coloured fabric crayons, the girls drawing lots of hearts with their minds on the approach of Valentine’s Day! One girl spent ages decorating a piece of paper by covering it with some plastic film we’d brought and then weaving strips of black tape across it, it looked fantastic. She told me she wants to be an artist but her parents will never let her be one, they want her to do a ‘sensible job’, I helped her make a sketch from some of our coloured paper to take home and practise on. Another boy added some decorations onto our kite and tied it to his scooter, nearly crashing into everyone else as he scooted fast looking back to watch it!

 The next square was quiet, just one girl came out to join us and we continued our drawings on the white fabric. At the last square we played on the climbing frame, the prison game returning with one of our regular girls who’s kept wanting to play that for many months- she always takes the role of prison keeper, instructing us in daily tasks in return for shillings! Her younger brother played a war game with Rainer and we played hide and seek chase altogether.

15th February

This session was quiet and cold, 5 or so children came, mostly girls. They drew flowers and shells on some fabric with fabric crayons and one girl brought some knitting that she’d been working on at home to show Inga who had begun it with her the week before. 2 mums stayed to the session too and one of them showed the girl some more knitting techniques. Meanwhile Rainer and a boy played ‘It’.

 

17th February

Today’s session had indoor and outdoor play, inside the kids sat in the plastic discs and span in them, outside there were chase games. Some of the children started climbing the scaffolding from building works at the estate though the play workers didn’t encourage this.

 Chloe, who lives on the estate and volunteers with the sessions, mentioned that the games played out here are much higher energy on the days the play workers come.

At the end of the session the boy who had mopped the floor last week wanted to do it again, he made his mum wait outside for him for half an hour while he mopped every bit of floor and cleaned the walls and tables.

20th February

It rained all day today and was much colder resulting in a quiet session today. Habiba and I were joined by a Chloe, who is quite new to play work, and picked her brains for new game ideas from her sports background! For the first 30 minutes no children came out but we set about playing a skipping game and saw several kids watching us from their windows! One of regular girls came out and joined in the skipping, then we stood chatting under umbrellas about homework, bears and trips to see cousins.

 At the next square we also had just one girl coming out to play, we know her well now, she always begins games and then finds a reason not to play herself but try to get everyone else chasing about, changing rules to suit just her and we teased her about it. We played on the hammock with her, then the hammock became a classroom and we were her students- she created a chart to mark our names with happy or sad faces depending on our behaviour!

 At the last square we mostly played with 2 of our regular kids though some older girls who used to join our sessions were walking round the estate in groups and came by for a bit. We ran a lot, playing hide and seek chase and a power-rangers inspired play fighting type game with the younger boy. Lots of curtain twitching took place today, some from wistful children wanting to play but some felt uncomfortable, I had a feeling one guy was angry about the noise we made in the game as the boy was especially into his super hero energy today and we met it enthusiastically, the acoustics at this square make sound echo and multiply far more than other places!

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