Little Africa

Posted by martin.parnell |

Last week I travelled to Ontario. The trip included a 25 year reunion of a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Australia and the three day IdeaCity Conference hosted by Moses Znaimer. However the highlight was definitely the time I spent playing with my grandchildren, Autumn and Nathan.

Autumn is 10 years old and loves arts and crafts. After Saturday breakfast we opened up a painting kit she had received as a present. It included eight tubes of acrylic paint and a canvas of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Bedroom at Arles”. Van Gogh said of the painting that “Instead of trying to reproduce what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of color to express myself more forcefully”, and this is exactly what Autumn and I did. We took half the painting each and the paint started to fly. Forty five minutes later we were finished and I think Van Gogh would have been thrilled by the result.

Then Autumn wanted to go for a bike ride and we headed to the playground. As she rode and I walked, we chatted about my Quests and the trip I made to Kilimanjaro last year. I told her that I would like to take her to climb the mountain in five years when she is 15. She loved the idea and wanted to know what she had to do to get ready. I explained that endurance was important and we would start at the playground.

Over the next hour she pretended that the climbing set was part of the route up the mountain; leaped off the swing set, jumping 15 feet over an imaginary raging river; shinned up the swing set stations as if they were trees in the jungle and balanced across a teeter-totter defying a 300’ drop into a canyon below. As we left the park she said that it was her “Little Africa” and she would be back.

In the afternoon it was time to play with 4 year old Nathan. The day had turned out warm and into the pool we went. Nathan loves the water and wants to be thrown around. The pool is a large circular structure and is perfect for swimming around the outer wall. The game turned into “Roller Coaster”. I would throw him up into the air and then he’d go down under the water. He loved it. He gave me a break after eight loops but we were back in after 10 minutes.

That night, there were three sleepy heads in the house all thanks to a great day of play.

Quote of the week:

"Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity"

Kay Redfeild Jamison

Play time with Autumn, Papa Martin and Nathan.

 Little Africa

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