First Ever National Children’s Day UK – 15th May 2013   Leave a comment

In case you had not heard about this, take a look at this link

The children at Penny’s Place were very excited about the idea and without exception all said they wanted to go to the arboretum but specifically to roll down the hill.

The children are used to planning their own play and know what they like to do best – and at the moment it is rolling down the hill at the arboretum. Of course this choice will change over time – but for now hill rolling it is.

So although Penny does not really do pre planning because this was a pre set date for the event, Penny put the info in the parents weekly newsletter. Nothing else needed planning as permission for trips to arboretum are already in place, ‘puddlesuits’ and wellies belonging to the setting are in plentiful supply, and the new ‘explorer packs’ brought last year but not used yet were in the shed ready and waiting (Penny hoped that the children might find some minibeasts at the arboretum and would be able to use the equipment in the explorer packs)

So all was set, and the day arrived ……

……pouring with rain and for May – cold,  plus Penny woke with the start of a cold. Still not enough to cancel the day because Penny also has wet weather gear and was sure a hot lemon drink would help with the cold symptoms.

Then Chinzia arrived – she had been off with a cold for a couple of days (guess where Penny got hers from?) and this was her first day back. Mummy said that Chinzia was much better, no longer had a temperature, no longer needed calpol but still had a bit of a sore throat and a slightly runny nose. Mummy was right – Chinzia was fine, but did have to wipe her nose occasionally and yes she did have a ‘frog in her throat’

So Penny thought mmmm – day out in the cold and wet – best assess the situation nearer 11am when the arboretum opens.

Chinzia and Penny follow the normal routine and get in the car to fetch Erin – when they get to Erin’s house, Erin’s Mummy says’ I am not sure if Erin is coming down with a cold or not. So Penny and Mummy discuss the situation – Erin does not have a temperature and is running around, and chatting to Chinzia. Mummy and Penny decide that Erin is ok to go to Penny’s Place but that Mummy will phone later to check how Erin is.

Mmmm thought Penny – Even less sure now that a day outside in the cold and the wet would be in the best interests of the children. Still no need to decide now as still only 6:45am.

Over the next couple of hours Alex, Shona and Mia arrive. Shona and Mia are fine – no sign of colds – but Alex’s Mummy says ‘I am not sure if Alex is getting a cold – just a gut feeling but his Daddy has a sore throat and thinks he has a cold coming so maybe Alex is as well. However he seems fine and he has not had any calpol.

(It should maybe be noted that Penny and the parents have a very open and honest relationship – and if parents say their child has not had calpol , it is the truth. none of that dosing child with calpol just to get them through the door of the setting)

However of course Penny is now having even more doubts

But as always the children do the planning – they say – too wet, too cold to go to the arboretum today.

‘Oh’ says Penny – ‘so what do you want to do today?’

‘Play trains’ says Alex

‘Finish my Hungry Caterpillar sticking picture’ say Mia and Shona

‘Make shapes’ say Chinzia and Erin – already tipping out the box of magnetic polydron

And so it was sorted – throughout the morning the children led their own play (as they always do)

Then at lunchtime – as promised – Erin’s Mummy phones – and although Erin is fine, Mummy says she will be home earlier and so to take Erin home for just after 2pm.

When we get back after taking Erin, the rain stopped and the sun came out – ‘We want to go outside’ said the children

Puddlesuits were put on (almost independently) wellies put on – and out they went. It was windy, it was cold but they organised their own ‘mini celebration of National Children’s day UK’ by doing what they wanted to do in the outside environment;


Collect blossom petals from the grass, they stood with bowls under the tree trying to catch the petals as the wind blew the petals off the tree, they lay on the grass and observed that the sun was too bright – so covered their eyes when lay on their backs, they tried out ‘the dark’ in the garden (meaning the shade) but found the grass too wet there, they tried out the bark area as a place that might be better – but thought it was ‘not comfy’ – and they rolled on the grass – Penny does not have a ‘proper hill’ in her garden – just a slight slope, but that did not stop the children from rolling, laughing and having fun. After a good hour, they decided to play in the sand – another favourite activity at the moment and found that the sand was very wet and very heavy, and so decided to make ‘pies’ and ‘castles’ and of course dig.

Penny has lots of photo’s of our – not quite as planned celebration of the first ever National Children’s Day UK – but can only put a few on here due to the fact that most of the photo’s show the children’s ‘beaming’ faces. However Penny hopes this small selection gives an indication of the fun the children had in expressing their rights and their freedom to develop, naturally and happily, to their full potential and  – (for the benefit of any government people reading this) –  of course doing naturally, all that unplanned learning and development of the physical abilities that are essential for later – much later – reading, writing, maths, science – oh heck why go on with the list? – we all know this, and should the government be reading this they won’t believe it!

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