We’re Goin’ on a Playground Hunt – We’re Gonna Catch a Big One (in Paris)

DSC04642

 

Papa and I are up early to make the most of our last full day in the City of Heat. We’re getting prepared for a day of urban trekking. First order of business – sustenance. We head to our regular spot at the corner of Voltaire and Charonne after grabbing a couple of croissants each at the boulangerie across the street. The café au lait at l’Ingénu is just the fuel we need before the morning’s expedition to l’Haÿ-les-Roses gets underway.

We’re goin’ on a playground hunt, we’re gonna catch a big one. Yes, three days in Paris and we’re spending half a day on a quest for a 1950s playscape designed by Franco-Hungarian, Pierre Székely. Can you guess whose idea this is? Papa is very good natured about it and curious too. All we’ve got are screen captures of Google satellite and map views to try and find it. Oops, not as well prepared as I could be several thousand kilometres from home.

birds eye view

h

I guess we aren’t exactly the standard father and son duo off on a play adventure. As often as we’d done this in the past, at 80 and 57 respectively, we are a tad out of practice with the old roles. But it turns out that love and the pursuit of play are ageless.

We grab the Métro at Charonne, our home station in the 11e arrondissement, and slip over to Nation. I pull us up street side here for a few minutes to see the two huge 100′ high doric columns each topped with a king. They made quite an impression on me from the days we lived in Paris nearly 45 years ago.

As we make our way around the square, we encounter three kids in a spontaneous burst of play. Already the temperature is heat waving its way to 40ºC. Partially hidden from their dad’s view, the kids are running, dancing, jumping through a sprinkler. They’re happy as he continues to chat on the sidewalk. Each moment is an extension of freedom – getting soaked one drop at a time in this small patch of green.

From Nation we do the underground zip to the end of the line at Ville Juif. Nobody we ask there is familiar with the street names that encircle the playscape. Why should they be? It’s about 2 kilometres away from the station. But really, can you believe it – Rue de la Reine Blanche runs along the perimeter of our treasure? I was beginning to think it was all Alice in Wonderland. I’m ready to throw in the towel but that’s not in papa’s plans – no playgrounds left behind….

We do get some pointers from staff in a café and transit drivers. They set us out in the right direction to L’Haÿ-les-Roses. Once there it’s a like a game of hot and cold. Seemingly we move quickly in and out of range with people looking at us like we’re aliens or saying yes it sounds familar and is somewhere nearby. Two women, a cashier in the post office and young mom pushing her child in stroller, send us straight to the mother lode.

This is what it looks like nearly 60 years down the road.

DSC04608
h

What treasures to discover – texture, form, space and Yves Le Thuaut who saved the playground from demolition and is now working with others to restore it. See the photos and videos including yours truly going down ‘le toboggan’ – the slide and not ripping my shorts. It’s right here on Storehouse – 96 degress in the shade: playgroundin’ in tropical Paris. See la gruyère, le labyrinthe, les escaliers, les vagues, les pataugeoires et le corne de brume.

96 degress in the shade
h

Truly a successful playground hunt though it must be said I couldn’t get over it, under it, through it. In fact I just wanted to be in it.

Thanks to the as-tu déjà oublié? crew for introducing me to Székely.

Thanks to you for checking in – cheers from Canada’s far east…….

New Brunswick, Canada’s Call to Action – Get the Kids Outside

I heard the radio version of this promotion piece earlier today driving Nova Scotia’s highways. Just the soundtrack made me smile.

The visuals add to the fun. I hope this turns out to be a successful campaign for New Brunswick. The simplicity and beauty make for a powerful message. Be nice to see a series developed on the same theme.

Unplug the kids and go solar!!!

As this comes from Canada’s only officially bilingual province, there is also a French version.

Débranchez!!!

Is North America on the brink of a play renaissance?

PlayGroundology:

It was great to have Tim Gill share some of his time and perspectives with us during his recent Canadian trip. It seems like we made a good impression based on his latest post on Rethinking Childhood. This is a theme I will be taking up at Halifax’s Emergent Learning conference this fall for my presentation – ‘Risk, Resilience and the Renaissance of Play’. Thanks Tim, we hope you’ll be back.

Originally posted on Rethinking Childhood:

Position statement screengrabThe last few weeks have seen three major milestones in the journey towards a healthier, happier childhood for children in North America. While not directly connected, they could come to be seen a tipping point. So what are these milestones?

View original 890 more words

More freedom to roam and outdoor play with risk good for kids says ParticipACTION

More freedom to roam and outdoor play with risks make Johnny and Jane more physically active says ParticipACTION in the The 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth (formerly the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card).

The Wave riskyplayRisky play was the subject of a recent public presentation in Halifax with Tim Gill made possible by Stepping Up Halifax and the NS Department of Health and Wellness

Highlights of ParticipACTION’s 2015 report are available here and the full report, here.

ParticipACTION has also put together a handy social media kit and an infographic.

2015-Report-Card-Infographic-EN-FINALclick image to enlarge

Keep the kids movin’and give them some space to play unsupervised it can do wonders. In Dartmouth this Sunday, June 14, check out some outdoors loose parts play at the Findlay Community Centre.

Le Grand Défi – Pierre Lavoie’s Energy Cubes for Schools

Hats off, chapeau to Pierre Lavoie, his team and his partnerships with not-for-profits, school boards and the private sector. At our house, Le Grand Défi is a succès fou. Just check our kids all pleased as punch in this twitter pic sent to M. Lavoie. It was snapped just before the school bus pulled up on the day they brought in their final numbers for Le Grand Défi – Cubes d’énergies.

i
Le Grand Défi

 

i

C’est un homme qui fait bouger le monde.

He’s a man who makes people move.

 

Each May, grade school kids throughout Quebec and in francophone schools across the country take the energy cube challenge. Kids are asked to track their physical activity in 15 minute intervals over a 4 week period. Each 15 minutes equals 1 energy cube. Our kids are the outdoors types constantly on the run. They love this friendly competition. There is a little whining on occasion and disagreement over a sibling’s interpretation of the numbers. But all told it’s a celebration of play in motion.

Each kid gets a little book to track their progress over the course of the 4 weeks. At the end of each week, a parent signs attesting to the accuracy of the count and the books go into school for the weekly tallies.

Les CubesThe book

Lavoie started out on his incredible journey in 1999.

“In 1999, Pierre Lavoie launched the first Défi Pierre Lavoie in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean in order to raise awareness in his region about lactic acidosis, the illness which took two of his children from him, and raise funds for research. He cycled alone over 650 km in 24 hours on an itinerary around the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.” (Source)

Since then, Lavoie has served as an inspiration to adults and children alike.

The kids are racking up the cubes. For the first at bats in 2009, 16,970,889 cubes. In 2015, 103,081,934. The cubes are on the move.

For more on Pierre Lavoie visit Le Grand Défi or The Grand Défi. The video below gives a sense of the power of Lavoie’s message, of his actions. A tribe of movers and shakers is in motion around him riding the physical activity wave.

Our kids are raring to go every May – ready to jump, run, rattle and roll. Are there similar physical activity programs in your area? Keep them movin’

Today Only: Popping The Bubble Wrap with Tim Gill in Halifax, Nova Scotia

If you’re in the Halifax area, we hope you can join us at 2:30 this afternoon at the funked up Halifax Central Library to hear about risk and play from Tim Gill, one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood.

Risky play is crossing a lake with not a lot of rocks (to step on)…..

i

Tim Gill - Public Event Poster 8x11A helping hand to adventure……

i

Tim Gill - Public Poster Library Screens Draft 1-01Getting Out on a limb

Hope you can join us at the halifax central library….

halifaxcentrallibrary3Photo credit – Alexa Cude

100,000 Welcomes – Tweeting in Tim Gill

Tim Gill will be in Halifax in just a couple of days as he wraps up a cross country tour focused on kids and play. This week, Nova Scotians may have read about Tim’s public talk scheduled for May 17 in The Chronicle Herald or heard him being interviewed on CBC Mainstreet.

out on a limb riskyplayout on a limb risky play

I’ve been contributing as a volunteer to a great team that has made Tim’s visit to Nova Scotia possible. Please join me in a big shout out to Stepping Up Halifax, the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, Halifax Public Libraries, members of the organizing committee and all those who have assisted with promoting the May 17 event.

I’m asking PlayGroundology readers to help tweet up a little storm in that 100,000 welcomes kind of way to make Tim feel right at home in Canada’s Ocean Playground. Please feel free to use any of the photos below on Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels to say welcome Tim and promote Sunday’s event.

Here’s a suggested sample tweet that any of the #riskyplay photos below can be attached to:

Jump up 4 #riskyplay w @SteppingUpHFX @timrgill May 17 http://on.fb.me/1CHb3yQ @hfxpublib #playmatters

The Wave riskyplayriding the wave risky play

Backyard adventure riskyplayBackyard Adventure Risky Play

SwingJump riskyplayswing jump risky play

make believe sailors riskyplaymake believe sailor’s risky play

Jump for riskyplayJump for risky play

Four in a Tree  riskyplayFour in a Tree

Boat Magdalen Island riskyplayCharting the Course for Risky Play

Hoping you can spare a few moments to tweet and share these photos…..