Category Archives: Chris Gregory

Playful Play Advocacy from Isle of Man

Enjoy this highlights reel from the Isle of Man’s Prince of Play and March2Work mastermind, Chris Gregory.

PlayGroundology has been cheering on Chris’ March2Work campaign for the last two years. He’s a young looking fellow and speaks with a lot of vitality so I’m hoping that he and the campaign will be back for many years to come.

The concept, objectives and merriment are all highly exportable. The fun-fueled campaign certainly has all the right ingredients to catch on in other jurisdictions and draw some much needed focus to the value of outdoor play and safe routes to schools and playspaces.

Hear Chris right here from an interview recorded just prior to this year’s campaign kick off.

March2Work is a March4Play

In a matter of just a few hours, Chris Gregory will be readying himself to get out the door to work at the Children’s Centre in Douglas, Isle of Man. He’s been preparing for this day since April 1, 2012. No, it’s not just any Friday. This Friday marks the beginning of an epic journey. For the entire month of March, Chris will be making his way to work by a different means of transportation to raise awareness for outdoor play and safe routes for children.

I spoke with Chris earlier in the week to get the skinny on March2Work – listen to the interview here.


If you really want something to stand out in peoples’ imaginations it has to be a little bit silly and the fact that you’re promoting children’s play it has to be something quite playful — Chris Gregory

Chris laments the changes that have come about in kids’ lives over the last two or three decades. The days when kids were out playing more, walked to school as a matter of course and generally had more independence and freedom are not that far behind us but sometimes they do feel like a distant memory.

In my case they are back in the old days a bit. It was the mid-1960s when I started walking to school on my own and getting out and about unsupervised in the world. In many respects, the lives of current day grade school kids bear little resemblance to how we played and to how independently mobile we were when I was growing up. I really think today’s kids are missing out.

Good on Chris Gregory for creating this fun and imaginative March2Work campaign. I hope it will help to broaden the conversation around children’s play and independence. PlayGroundology will be dropping in on Chris a couple of times during the month to see how he’s holding out. It can be a grueling three kilometers before he arrives at his office door.

Let’s all wish Chris well as he heads out on his maiden voyage to mark the 2nd annual March2Work.

PlayGroundology’s on Cloud Nine

PlayGroundology has just wrapped its third year of blogging about the world of play and playgrounds. Following are nine posts that readers found popular. If you didn’t see them first time around, I hope you’ll take a moment to sample two, or three. If you like them, share with others – play never has a best before date. Happy playing and thanks for reading PlayGroundology!

Sculpted in France – Concrete Art Playgrounds

Photo credit: J. Bruchet. Source: Architectures de cartes postales. Designer: Pierre Székely. Cité des Jeux – L’Haÿ-les-Roses, France

I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for France so I’m always on the lookout for interesting play stories from that part of the world. Our family lived there in the early 70s. I was 12 when we arrived and 15 when we left. It was my gawky early adolescent phase which I like to think I’ve outgrown. (more…)


Just Play


Just Play

play play
whether it’s alone or with friends
within four walls or under a great canvas of sky
just play

there are not enough hours
in a heartful life
to miss kaleidoscoping fun (more…)


The Playground Paradise Principle

Paradise might be a bit of a stretch but Malmö, Sweden is quite simply playgroundalicious. It’s the kind of place that would inspire Mary Poppins to gather her young charges around her and umbrella them off to adventure – up through the atmosphere/ up where the air is clear/ let’s all/ go to Malmö. (more…)


London’s Somerford Grove Adventure Playground Makes The New York Times Magazine

Source: Haringey Play Association. Click image to enlarge

There are four stunning, brilliant images in the March 1 edition of the The New York Times Magazine offering glimpses of children at the Somerford Grove Adventure Playground in London, England. (more…)


A Journey of Epic Proportions

How do you spice up your morning commute to work and at the same time make it more meaningful? Look no further than my friend Chris Gregory for an answer. Chris is a champion for play at the Isle of Man’s leading children’s charity The Children’s Centre. To raise awareness for outdoor play and safe and playful routes for children, he is taking a different means of self propelled transport every workday for the month of March. His epic journey started out with a 3 kilometer spacehopper commute. Do I hear sore thighs? (more…) Note, Chris is in training for his second run at March 2 Work.


Imagining a Better Future – Playtime in Africa

Source: Mmofra Foundation. Click image to enlarge

Two acres of green space in the Dzorwulu neighbourhood of Accra, Ghana are being primed for transformation. It’s all about the kids, or Mmofra as they are called in Ghana’s Akan language.

This story, about a small plot of land, spans decades, continents and generations. It’s the story of a woman’s vision, of her love for children. The seeds were sown 50 years ago when the late Efua Sutherland wrote her groundbreaking book on Ghana’s play culture, Playtime in Africa. The narrative and accompanying photographs by Willis E. Bell were the first real documentation of children’s play in the newly independent African nation. (more…)


Sir Ken of TEDalot on Play and Learning

Earlier this spring, Sir Ken (Robinson) shared his views on education with an appreciative audience in Halifax, Nova Scotia – home of PlayGroundology. I was one of the 1,000 in attendance who enjoyed an accomplished and entertaining critic of conventional wisdom about education and creativity. No props, no notes, plenty of humourous asides and always an à propos anecdote. (more…)


Have You Heard What They’re Saying About RISK? Listen Then Share

Generally speaking, parents want their kids to experience the fullness of the world – the quiet beauty, the dizzying adventure, the discovery of self and others. As much as possible we want to keep hurt and injury at bay but they too are part of the mix with cuts, scrapes and breaks both corporeal and psychological. So how do we go about assessing risk? How do we ensure that our kids aren’t enclosed in a cocoon of safety?

I saw this video a couple of nights ago and thought I would play a small role in helping to spread the word. Right now it’s at 373 views. After you’ve watched it, please share with your friends and your broader network.

Thanks to the Alliance for Childhood and KaBOOM! for producing this piece.


The Unbearable Lightness of Swinging

There’s something cosmic about swinging, a certain je ne sais quoi. When I saw Teena Marie Fancey’s Baby Boy at The Craig Gallery on Dartmouth, Nova Scotia’s waterfront a couple of years ago, I knew I had found a great opening image for a paean to swings. Thanks Teena. (more…)

I’ve Got A Brand New Pair of Rollerskates

Bravo to Chris Gregory who completed his March2Work campaign earlier today. As we don’t have a satellite feed, we can’t share this morning’s last hurrah with you but we can look back on Thursday and it’s well worth a peek.

Chris’ funful campaign sustained throughout March was all about bringing focus to outdoor play and safe routes for kids. Check his Play Isle of Man blog and treat yourself to a few smiles through this creative public awareness performance that practices what it preaches – play, play and more play.

Chris, I’m going to miss your daily adventures.

And Now For Something Completely Different

To counterbalance yesterday’s sad news about Toronto’s Jamie Bell Playground torching, here’s a snippet of fun. From Chris Gregoy’s jet fuel imagination direct to YouTube here’s Day 13 of the March2Work campaign. Yes, Chris is the mastermind pilot behind the day of the plane – see for yourself.

Chris is at it all month, taking different modes of transportation to get to work all in the name of promoting outdoor play and safe routes for children.

Only 11 days left until he finishes his epic journey. Send him a tweet to help him on his way @chrisplayiom or leave a comment on his blog – Play Isle of Man

I have to fly back to Halifax later today. I’m hoping my pilot is more experienced.

Hula till it Hurts – March2Work

When we last tuned in, Chris was bouncing his way to work on a spacehopper in Douglas, Isle of Man. If you missed the introductory post on March 2 Work, just scroll down as it’s immediately below this one.

Earlier today, Day 7 in the March 2 Work campaign, Chris was really working it. He was winding his waist in a hula for humanity like he just stepped off a plane from the islands. Watch the technique, the uphill swivel, the get me there gyrations.

It was a grand day in Douglas, perfect for promoting the importance of outdoor play and safe routes for kids. Check in on Chris’ exploits for the rest of the month at Play Isle of Man, or on twitter @chrisplayiom.

Hats off to the kids who traveled the route with Chris – some real hula hoop champs in that lot.

Thanks for the fun video, we’ll be back to check in on you.

A Journey of Epic Proportions

How do you spice up your morning commute to work and at the same time make it more meaningful? Look no further than my friend Chris Gregory for an answer. Chris is a champion for play at the Isle of Man’s leading children’s charity The Children’s Centre. To raise awareness for outdoor play and safe and playful routes for children, he is taking a different means of self propelled transport every workday for the month of March. His epic journey started out with a 3 kilometer spacehopper commute. Do I hear sore thighs?

Isle of Man News covered the action too. Click through for their video segment – Hopping to work.

It seems like March came in like a lion for Chris. After regaining his lucidity, he penned a few humourous words about the inaugural March2Work jaunt in his Play – Isle of Man blog.

The spacehopper and scooter have now bit the dust as means of transport in this commuter odyssey. Tomorrow morning, Chris will be in a canter on his hobby horse as he makes his way along the home stretch of Douglas’ Woodbourne Road. He’ll stable the horse at his office digs and get on with his day’s work in support of play.

We’ll be dropping in periodically throughout March to see how Chris is making out. Personally, I can’t wait for the hula hoop next Friday and the grand finale piggy back – Chris please try and get video of these!

Show your support for Chris, outdoor play and safe routes for kids by sending him a tweet or two to @chrisplayiom.

Guerrillas in the Mist – Isle of Man Adventures in Swing

I read a great post yesterday from Chris Gregory’s blog, Play Isle of Man. Chris and I have corresponded back and forth about the world of play and discovered that we both have a soft spot for swings. Chris is much more of a connoisseur than I and has a lot of swing tales to tell.

Chris Gregory champions play on the Isle of Man for the Island’s leading children’s charity The Children’s Centre. Campaigning to transform the Isle of Man into the greatest place on earth for children to grow up, Chris lives and breathes play. Rumours he once ate an apple and regurgitated a small forest containing a fully working Ewok village remain unconfirmed.

Colby Glen in the Clearing, Isle of Man

With his Will you be part of the Guerrilla Swinga Movement? post, he’s setting the foundation for a bit of mythology making all in the name of fun and play. Chris kindly agreed to repost his piece here at PlayGroundology. Pass on the fun, hit a share button and let the movement catch on.

On with his post.

Will you be part of the Guerrilla Swinga Movement?

If you’ve ever made or used a rope swing you are now and without realising it part of a movement… Welcome to Guerrilla Swing Movement!

A childhood wouldn’t be complete without using or creating a rope swing. More popular than the mundane manufactured swings you’ll find in your local park and often not for the faint of heart, these are the swings often made from old rope, lashed around the thickest available branch and often hanging over a river or significant drop. These are swings made by children for children!

Ramsey Pool Dewey, Isle of Man

Rarely around for long, the swings are far too often cut down by an overly dutiful health and safety bods or by Play Deprived adults who thinks it “looks messy”. But there are others out there with totally different ideas…

I have recently received a number of emails from a group calling themselves the “Guerrilla Swingas”. Tired of health and safety restricting their children’s fun they have a seemingly endless supply of rope and dress in monkey costumes and they a have a mission to erect as many rope swings around the Isle of Man in as many child accessible places as possible.

In an email to me they have asked for support from likeminded parents, adults, children and young people who are tired of the restrictions put upon them and become honorary Guerilla Swingas.

Pulrose near the golf course, Isle of Man

And we here at Play Isle of Man say, Sounds like fun? I’m sure there are all sorts of health and safety legislation out there that will bombard you with reasons why not to, but the Guerrilla Swingas seem to be shouting a counter argument that is turning up the volume, “it’s fun and as long as you use a strong piece of rope, a thick secure tree branch that’s not dead, and a strong stick to sit on the only danger you’re in, is missing out on the fun.”

All we would say to would be swingas is to be respectful and only use branches for sitting on that you have found loose on the floor.

We’ll continue to post more of their swings and their locations as we get them, but if you’ve seen or created a swing send us a photo and we’ll stick up.

Bananas to you all

Glen Vine Park Lane, Isle of Man

Send your photos to Chris via the ‘contact’ link on his blog

Follow Chris’ adventures in the Guerrilla Swinga Movement and other play related pursuits on Twitter @chrisplayiom.

If you’re entranced by swings, you may enjoy this post – In Montreal, The Swings Are Alive With The Sound of Music.