As August comes to an end, what better time to reflect on one of summer's all-time favorite activities? Water slides! This summer, children created a variety of water slides in the PlayCorps parks. Here are a few examples:
At GENERAL ST PARK, the hills are perfect for slides - grassy with just-right slopes going down into the park itself. The children picked up on this right away and started using cardboard boxes as "sleds." The team picked up on these play cues, and helped the kids build slides out of tarps and old banners. Once they added the water, they created an instant play sensation which was brought out on hot days for the rest of the summer.
At WALLACE ST PARK, the team and kids created water slides on tarps spread over the ground or even on the playground slides themselves. Play Leader Tina, however, didn't anticipate the kids trying to climb up the wet slides from he bottom. Tina was nervous at first that they would slip and get hurt, or that someone would slide down on top of them. But she respected the kids' choices and let them do it. When she took a step back, she watched as an amazing 3-year-old climbed all the way up the slide and pulled herself to the top. In that moment, Tina realized that if kids don't take risks, their comfort levels continue to shrink and they become adults that are mentally trapped in tiny bubbles. When they do take risks, push themselves and play freely, they grow into adults who are well adjusted and know how to explore their own boundaries, limits, and senses of fun.
One Thursday afternoon at BILLY TAYLOR PARK, kids took the water park to an entirely new level. It was a hot day, so an older boy— who was nicknamed “Peter Pan”—recruited a following of “lost boys” to create a giant water slide. Earlier in the summer, the kids had discovered that wringing out the sponges over the slide made for a very fast and exciting ride. That day, Peter Pan decided to drag the kiddie pool to the bottom of the slide to create a splash-zone at the end. With his lost boys in tow, they filled the pool using the noodles, dragged it across to the playground, dunked themselves in the pool, then raced to the top to slide down as fast as they could. The PlayCorps team watched anxiously from a distance as the children attempted to land in the pool. Sometimes they slid too fast and would overshoot the pool. But still the team didn't intervene and allowed the children to play. The team paid close attention, noticing that when children did fall, they continued to laugh. The children also looked out for each other, checking on everyone after they took their turn, Soon the experimentation yielded a super fun and successful water slide rivaling any that one could imagine in NeverLand.