The following was written by Mudchute Playworker, Penny Wilson
The fourth story of our street.
If we were only a tiny bit late coming out for our morning Elevensies, by week four we had children knocking on our door impatient for playtime to begin.
I had made up a batch of pigment to paint a longer lasting hopscotch grid on our pavement. Very quickly the squares stretched out up and down between the houses of the playing children. Almost as quickly people walking along the road started to hopscotch along it. Sometimes they were giggling and laughing, other times they were quite serious and matter of fact about it.
On our Sunday sociably distanced celebration, the grown ups were keen to make the grid even longer and they chalked in each of the squares.
We invested in giant biodegradable balloons which bounced on their yarn tethers in games of keepy uppy. Of course some were lost down in the ‘areas’ of different houses, but residents were happy to fetch them out and send them back into play. Some fell casualty to rose bushes, but that is the way of balloons, even giant ones.
Another thing that brought play to the street was bubble mixture. A great recipe that we had researched and used many times for PATH (Play Association Tower Hamlets) events. The huge iridescent bubbles shivered and flew up above the houses or along the streets. We used the mixture in the middle of the road so that the pavements didn’t get slippery. This meant that an adult stood in the street to signal to the very occasional cars and delivery trucks that children were using this space for playing. Seizing the opportunity, the boys played cricket and neighbours stood apart nattering while they kept watch. Most drivers were happy to slow right down or turn around and go back the way they had come. Bubbles make people happy and we waved thank you to each other. The occasional grumpy drivers found us slow to move out of their way and we stood staring gruffly at them. Changes in a local one way system had turned our little dead end road into a bit of a rat run and a glorified turning area. But as I say, most drivers paused to enjoy watching us play and rolled down their windows and were pleasant and encouraging.
We began to think about writing a fake street markings at the top of the road. ‘Slow down please, children playing’. We did something else in the end, but that is a story for another week.