I’ve often thought that it would be good for we so-called adults to dedicate more of our focus the the kinds of things we were mad about as children. The exact nature of this stuff, I assume, is different for everyone. Play equipment was my jam. It didn’t matter if it was a garish knot of plastic tunnels in an RSL club creche or a lone, council-worrying slippery dip in a windy suburban park – regardless, I’d want to have a go on it.
Most of the time I wasn’t even doing anything much on the thing – it was exciting enough to climb up a small ladder to a mysterious, raised platform, perhaps with a plastic bubble window or, if you were lucky, some kind of faux telescope. These things were pretty basic back in my day – now there are all kinds of geometric nets and multi-person swings and all manner of interactive experiences to be had.
I used to go crazy for this place at the local shopping centre. It was an indoor kids playroom. Jandakot parents, are there any places like that around now? You know – bouncy surfaces, things to climb on that seemed much bigger than they probably were, unusual slides and a place for the weary child-wrangler to sit down with a cuppa while the kiddos work off some steam. I’m willing to bet there are some pretty elaborate versions of this concept around these days.
I also remember that these venues were quite the place to hold a kid’s birthday party. Ideas, Jandakot parents, on children’s parties? I have them to spare. The first thing I’d make sure of is that you have a covered, secure space where the party guests can run rampant, because that game of pass-the-parcel you so carefully planned out is, at some point, guaranteed to descend into maniacal screaming and tearing about.
Add some cool play equipment to the occasion, and you have a recipe for marshalling that energy, rather than letting it become a ball of hyped-up, unfocused destruction. Sound familiar, grown-ups?