Finding fun is child’s play

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Macdonald

Headlingley

Kids may have just counted down the seconds to summer vacation, leaving a cloud of dust between themselves and their schools in Road Runner fashion, but the MacDonald-Headingley Recreation District might have them excited for a new kind of school.

The MacDonald-Headingley Recreation District has a slew of programs available this summer.

The organization is putting on day camps from Aug. 8 to 12 called Forest School for children ages 5 to 12.

“All the programming is going to be taking place outside,” said Meghan Lemoine, program co-ordinator at the recreation district. “It’s a child-led type of play, and so we’re just kind of guiding the children to play, but we’re not going to be telling them what to do.”

Lemoine said an educator trained to run forest schools will be present, and the idea is to allow children to use the breadth of their creativity.

“When you don’t give kids guidelines for games, or rules, they really have to be creative and co-operate amongst themselves and use their imaginations,” she said. “They really build an appreciation for the space and the land that they’re on … It’s very cool.”

The day camp costs $30 per day for children that live in the district ($36 for out-of-district kids), and each day runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The camps will be held outside the MacDonald-Headingley Recreation District office in Headingley.

In keeping with a similar philosophy regarding play, the organization will be putting on another program called the Loose Parts Adventure Playground.

At these free day camps, children five and up will have access to tarps, bungee cords, tires, milk crates, cardboard packaging and more, which are the loose parts referred to in the name. Facilitators will supervise what is called “risky play,” a pedagogical concept gaining popularity in some places around the world, such as New Zealand.

Children simply rev up their imaginations, as they often can’t help but do, and use these loose parts to engineer simple machines, create games, or do whatever else their unbridled minds can come up with.

“Risky play is about discovery and finding out what we’re capable of. It takes us in unexpected ways,” Lemoine said. “We often think of risk as something that’s negative, but it’s not. As you begin to play, the children actually become really good at mitigating their own risk. They come up with their own rules and negotiate and collaborate with other children.”

Lemoine said the organization decided to go in this direction to encourage the hands-on creativity and co-operation that was restricted for children throughout much of the pandemic.

This program will be held on varying days in July and August in Headingley, La Salle, Oak Bluff, Sanford, and Starbuck.

The district will be holding a number of other programs, as well, including Space Week, Paddling for Beginners, Drawing & Illustrations Club, Kids and Pre-teen Fundays, Appetite for Adventure (a cooking club), Badminton Club, and several outdoor fitness programs for adults.

Lemoine said planning recreation for a district that covers so much ground, geographically, can be a challenge, but the organization has tried to offer programming in each area.

To find out more about the programs available in each area, visit www.mhrd.ca

Cody Sellar

Cody Sellar
Community Journalist

Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at cody.sellar@canstarnews.com or call him at 204-697-7206.

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