Keep it simple – play in the street
Following the BBC piece on playing out on the streets in Bristol and Hackney there has been huge interest from parents, communities and those that are in charge of roads. Over the next few days I’ll be posting about some of the ways children can play outside their own homes, without being chaperoned at all times…
If you live in a cul-de-sac or block of flats with a fairly closed car park then there is nothing stopping children playing out if everyone around there agrees. Rules are different across the country, so this isn’t legal advice (and if anyone out there can offer some help pro bono then do get in touch!), but the general feedback from transport planners and Department for Transport has been that the use of closed public spaces is at the discretion of those that live there.
Lots of callers and commentators on BBC local stations discussing street play (like BBC Leeds and BBC Shropshire) have been sharing stories of how in their streets, working with their neighbours, their kids just make a big sign like this:
And then they play out.
Residents know that from 3 – 6pm in the week and any time at weekends kids might be playing in the street, so they take extra care if driving in. Kids know if anything gets damaged they have to ‘fess up. There is nothing special laid on and parents have adopted the old ‘come back when you are hungry’ attitude.
Where I live we have a car park in front of the block of flats. It’s a good big space, with a few corners of planting, but nothing special. We agreed as a residents committee over seven years ago that kids in the block could play out, and they do so on a regular basis. It means they all know each other, and they get to know everyone that lives here – this is what being part of a community is about.
And as yet no cars – or children – have been damaged, but there has been lots of great kick abouts, amazing water fights and beautiful chalking!
If you live in a place like this do let us know – let’s celebrate normal Love of Outdoor Play!