Fun on the wagon during Sandwich and Play
I love to play, I love to be active, but it is a challenge to carve out quality game time with your kids, friends and neighbors.
For the kids we have the concept of play dates. The word alone makes my toes crawl. I just can’t get my act together to organize them. Alone the diplomatic mine field of which home and how much chaos needs to be swept under the carpet before her royal rascal highness can come over, isn’t worth the effort. There is also feeding time and the butternut scotch allergy business that needs to be dealt with. Too much effort.
Besides, that is just for the kids. I want to run around, skip and play too.
Solution I came up with that is successfully running now in its second year in the San Mateo Highlands:
Sandwich and Play A low effort get together of the neighborhood at the nearest park or school yard.
Three simple bendable rules:
- Weather permitting let’s meet at the closest park or school yard.
- Bring a sandwich or your favorite food so that you and your rascals are fed. (Sharing optional, but encouraged)
- Enjoy your time and play.
There is a small initial effort needed, but once Sandwich and Play is established, it takes almost no effort. All you need is a mailing list, most neighborhood/parents groups have one already, or create your own. Send out an invitation explaining the concept and talk to every neighbor you meet about it. You may want to start it monthly: Sandwich and Play very first Monday of the month.
In my old stomping ground the San Mateo Highlands they are experimenting with weekly right now. Big advantage, less mental overhead: It’s Wednesday it’s Sandwich and Play day. They actually call it Picnic and Play. After a couple of weeks it will have developed into a lovely routine: Grab food, kids some games and off you run to the park.
How cool, almost no prep or major cleanup needed folks come together hang out and play in the fresh air. Paradise.
Pattern will develop and one of the things to keep an eye on is: The kids will go off run around and play in small groups and the grown ups will hang at the tables and just talk. Nothing wrong with checking in, catching up and talking. That alone is an evening well spent.
Icing on the cake for me is, when young and old find a way to play together fully using the capabilities of the space as well as the abilities of everyone. What we have forgotten or never had the chance to learn/develop these kind games.
My suggestion is after half an hour or so, once folks are fed and had time to connect. Call everyone for a pow wow to decide what we all can play together. We once brought little red wagons, skateboards, scooters and did soup box races down a little paved hill. Total fun. Would make me really happy if you organize a Sandwich and Play in your hood too.
I stumbled upon the Playworks site with a wealth of game ideas.
This post was inspired in part/interesting additional resources: Playborhood, Free Range Kids