Saturday, 21 February 2015

Hastings Adventure Playground

 Today we were excited to be invited to a birthday party at the Hastings Adventure Playground.  It's somewhere that we've been hoping to visit for some time as we have heard fantastic things about it and it is completely in line with the things we feel make for a great childhood.  Run by an organisation called In2Play, the playground takes the cotton wool off childhood and provides adventurous play in an environment which is well designed to be safe enough for peace of mind, but with enough elements of risk to let kids develop their own awareness.  There's things to climb on, muddy banks to slide down, a rope swing, a really high slide and a zip line amongst other things.

 One of the big hits at the party was the mud kitchen which was surrounded by eager young kids beavering away making mud pies and sludge soup.  Our friends had the playground for a private party, but it is also open weekdays after school for 8 to 13 year olds registered with the playground to come and go as they wish under the watch of In2Play staff, as well as being used for organised play sessions during the day.  There's a youth session once a week on Tuesdays for 11+ kids and a Saturday morning session open to unsupervised over 8s and families with kids of all ages.

We're familiar by now with how beneficial unstructured exploration play in the outdoors is for all children, but it's brilliant to find a facility like this available for play free of charge (except booked parties) right in the heart of busy housing estates with easy access to and around the site, including a family/disabled friendly toilet and board walks.  Good waterproofs are handy, but not essential as the site was a little muddy in places, but certainly not a swamp with well laid woodchip pathways as well as the board walks.  Our waterproofs were from Lidls by the way, so good doesn't have to mean expensive if you keep your eyes peeled for a bargain.

I'm seriously grateful to our friends for inviting us along and introducing us to this brilliant place, I'm sure it won't be the last time we visit it.  I'm constantly amazed by what's on our doorstep in our area and hope that with a little digging everyone might unearth treasures like this where they live.