Parents and children are being encouraged to take part in a day to promote safe routes to play spaces. March2Work Day on March 22 is the idea of Chris Gregory, Play Development Officer at The Children’s Centre. He devised last year’s March2Work campaign to highlight the need for children to spend more of their free time playing outdoors. Each day that month he travelled the 3km from his home in Onchan to The Children’s Centre, Woodbourne Road, Douglas, using 22 wacky ways to travel based on children’s toys and games. In addition to the spacehopper the modes of ‘transport’ included travelling by a scooter, hobby horse, kid’s bike, skateboard and a go-kart. On other days he made the journey without walking on the cracks in the pavement, with his arms outstretched pretending to be an aeroplane, and hoola-hooping. This year he’s hoping parents and children will join him on March 22 by using a variety of ways to get to work or school.
Chris says: “This year, it’s going to be a one off day and we’re asking for as many people as possible to take part in the event – adults and children alike simply to travel to school or work using a childish form of transport. If you are an adult and have fond memories of playing out unsupervised, yet are alarmed by the lack of children you seeing playing out today, then join us. Pretend to be a plane, ride a bike or spacehopper to work, it’s up to you! We’re also asking schools to take part. If you’re a parent and want your child to take part but are worried about the traffic danger along their route, then join them and make a statement – the more that take part the better! Chris is also planning to create a video featuring those who take part in the March2Work event. We’d like those who take part to film themselves for around 10 seconds. We’ll then make a compilation of all the footage, put it together, and release it on YouTube it may even make TV. Of course, we will need parental permission from children under-16 before they send us their videos.”
So, if you want to show your support for March2Work, it’s time to choose your mode of transport. Chris recommends
cycling as the easiest way for adults to take part, although being pushed along in a go kart was a close second based on his experience last year. What really matters is that people join in to show their support for the campaign to create safer routes to playspaces, and the many benefits of outdoor play.
Chris says: “Outdoor play is an essential part of a child’s development. It has so many benefits, it’s important every child is given the opportunity for free and spontaneous outdoor play in lots of different environments and be able to make their way to these areas safely and unsupervised. With so many children spending more and more time watching TV, playing computer games and subscribed to adult led clubs, it’s important to recognise that children today spend much less time playing freely outdoors than their parents did when they were young. Many parents may also feel that because there’s more traffic on the roads than when they were growing up, it’s not safe to let their children make their own way to parks and playgrounds. March2Work was a great experience and really caught the imagination of many children and adults alike. It was a fun way to raise the issue of outdoor play, but there was a serious point to March2Work as it got more people across the community talking about what they can do to make the Island a safer place for children to access their playspaces.”
If you want to submit a 10 second video clip to be included in Chris’s YouTube video about March2Work please email the clips to firstname.lastname@example.org (maximum file size 6MB) or upload the clips to YouTube and send the link to the same email address. For more details about March2Work go to www.march2work.net