Plog- May ‘11

 

10th May ‘11

Today’s session was really busy with children and their parents stopping by for a while on their way home from school. Some new children came and joined in too. Rainer tied a piece of blue net between the tree and the fence and the kids had a great time sliding down it. They got a few friction burns and scrapes from it but loved it and kept coming back for more turns.

11th May ‘11

About 20 kids came along this afternoon. One parent brought a out an inflatable paddling pool for the kids and they pretended it was a cauldron and that they were mixing spells. They also used the water from it to water all the plants and herbs that their parents were growing in planter boxes in the square. A lot of kids played independently here today and we interacted mostly with the youngest children while the older ones got on with their own games of chase and football.

12th May ‘11

Today’s session was fairly quiet with just our regular kids but they stayed for the whole session. By popular request, we made the hammocks again as the kids wanted to sit in them and chat and play with their phones. One 9 year old boy’s behaviour was particularly difficult today with lots of sexualised comments and gesturing towards the girls.

14th May ‘11

We arrived at the first square today to very grey skies and decided to build a rain shelter with a group of about 6 of our regular kids and a new brother and sister who came by. They found it hard to join in with the others at first as they’re a really established group of friends but concentrating on the den building task seemed to help them fit in. We tied the parachute between the tree and the slide and tried to pull out the other sides and attach them to the ground with sticks. The ground was hard making this impossible. Luckily, a couple of men were doing some repairs to a nearby stairwell and offered to let us borrow their hammer for a while so the kids got to have a go at working with the tool. They made a good den and took the fabric inside to sit on and use as blankets. The rain never came. However the den got tested in the form of one of our regular boys turning up on a destructive bent and pulling up the improvised tent pegs. The girls got angry and chased after him but he got away laughing.

At the next square we were joined by about 6 of our regular girls and played chase games, stopping to do some crafts when we got tired of running. Suddenly the rain shower we’d been waiting for at the last square and then forgotten about came, short but very heavy. We huddled together under a heap of fabric and umbrellas till it stopped.

The sun was out when we got to the last square and the session got busy with swing games, drawing, chase, origami and animal impressions.

19th May ‘11

Today’s session was fairly quiet at both squares. We made hammocks again but there was a lot of squabbling amongst the kids about who could get in, who was allowed with whom and how long for. One boy was getting pushed out by the other kids so I distracted him into a dare game, flipping a coin to see who got the dare. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to start this game as the boy can be one of the more challenging ones but his dares were quite sweet, making me run and dance in the middle of the square, or do star jumps (nothing offensive!) and he did his own dares with good humour, posing in the middle of the square and singing to the other play workers.

20th May ‘11

Today’s session was very quiet, it was a warm, pleasant day but not so many children came out as usual. The beginning was busiest. A group of 4 of our regulars came and wanted the hammock put up for them. We tried to encourage them to do it themselves first but they were really weren’t prepared even to pick it up and try. They got progressively ruder and more demanding before taking the hammock net to go and hide it round the corner. However, they came back later and were persuaded to go and get it and they did get some time in a hammock that another girl had made since they left. We also played some badminton and drew with the chalks. The second square was quiet on this session too with just a couple of the children under 5 coming out to play, as well as the older group of teenagers who hang out here too.

 

22nd May ‘11

Today’s session was warm and relaxed. The kids played their usual, favourite games but the session was mostly about preparing for next week’s party. The kids chatted about their favourite foods and what kind of games they’d like. They spent a long time designing and making posters which we taped to the walls around the square and also at the other squares we work from so these kids could come along too. One boy decided to destroy these to annoy us (succeeding more than he knew)! A few survived to advertise the party and the regular girls, who were particularly involved in the planning said they’d let as many people know as possible!

 

27th May ‘11

It’s been a difficult session today. We arrived at the estate in a thunder storm. It cleared after 15 minutes and we discovered the youth club were using the inside space today as they’d had to swap days this week, so we gathered some stuff and went outside. We met 4 of our regulars and had a short game of badminton before it started to pour with rain again. We sheltered under the stairs, using umbrellas as walls. One of the younger boys wanted to stay out with us but was only wearing a t-shirt so Habiba ran him home under her umbrella to get a coat and they came back to chat and chalk. However the rain didn’t clear up and continued to pour down heavily, turning the square into one big puddle that seeped into everyone’s trainers. A couple of mums started to shout at us for not running the session from inside and we went to find out if we could share the space with the youth club which we did end up doing, but amid a lot of complaints from the mums that the older kids shouldn’t be there as it wasn’t their night. They were worried about the older kids starting trouble with the younger ones, they appeared to have been drinking and were especially aggravated. The session was ok though we were overcrowded, there was no trouble between the kids, the younger ones happy to watch the older ones play Pool and we got some clay and board games out. The rain eventually stopped as we were packing up to go!

 

29th May ‘11

Today was the day of the party we’ve been organising at the first of the squares we work at on Saturdays. Our regular kids were excited and waiting for us when we arrived, they helped us lay out the food on picnic blankets and decorate the square. We hung bunting between the trees, blew up balloons and drew coloured chalk arrows to the picnic from the edges of the square with invitations to ‘join our play party’. One girl did some creative decorations on the poles supporting the trees with zigzags of coloured tape.

A few new kids came out when they saw the decorations and stayed for some food and games. We picnicked on baguettes, crisps, carrot and cucumber dips, pancakes and lemonade, and some delicious onion bargees one of the girl’s mums had made for us. After, we started the games- the kids had requested Pass the Parcel and a piñata.  The piñata created the most excitement, I’d made it a little stronger than I intended and it needed a good 15minutes of bashing with a plastic tennis bat. We strung it up from the tree and the kids took it in turns to hit it, shouting “DIE, DIE, DIE”! Eventually it fell off its hook, one boy dived on it then ran across the square trying to rip the layers off, a big group laughing and chasing him. They tackled it from him till it got ripped open- but only sweet wrappers and sugar dust fell out, the sweets had been pulverised! Luckily, the kids found this funny and were proud of it rather than disappointed! (Next time I’m using softer, gummy sweets though). We stayed for an extended sessions, we did some jewellery making, it was 80 % girls who stayed to the party and a groups of children and their mums came by from the others squares we work at and joined us. We also played in the hammock and chase games. It was a grey, windy day and the rain brought a natural end to the session but we were really pleased with how it went.

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