Saturday, 9 April 2011

When did you last have some playtime?

Home (my real one!) on the south coast.
 Are you aware of how important play is for children? Without it they become irritable, tired and unable to concentrate.  And are you aware how important play is for adults? The Curate and I have just returned to our house on the South Coast after a few days playing at Center Parcs. We had intended visiting our son who lives in Dubai but he was busy playing in Australia. So off we went to Longleat on our own (no accompanying children or pets). We felt a little strange as everyone else seemed to have children as their excuse for being there.

 I can thoroughly recommend it if you are still young at heart. 
We cycled everywhere, we played badminton every morning (ask The Curate who is the all time champion) and we threw ourselves down rapids, tubes and slides in the subtropical swimming paradise. We have the bruises to prove the extent of our enthusiasm. We had a lovely villa next to a lake and we were greeted by squirrels and moorhens at our door each morning. Despite our proximity to other villas, it was incredibly quiet and peaceful. We avoided the more populated areas and cooked for ourselves.
We appreciated how much we had needed the playtime. We have a little more time before we return to the North Coast. But our break reminded us of our plans for a play group for adults which we had wanted to start on the North Coast. We are very aware that a lot of couples have very little opportunity to have fun together. Once children arrive,  often the parent becomes the chauffeur, the encourager and the bystander while the children are challenged  and entertained. The Curate has already encouraged the start of a men's evening once a month in a local pub. This has no set agenda except a game of skittles and fellowship. As it is arranged by a group from the church, it provides opportunity for conversations and questions in an informal setting. This was originally inspired by the work of CVM.

The next stage is to provide activities for couples, we have looked at surfing, climbing, high ropes, clay pigeon shooting and the possibilities for funding. We have been thinking along the lines of the Would You, Could You, Should You? group. The aim being to encourage couples to play together. Isn't there a saying that says those who play together stay together? Have you tried something similar - we would love to hear about your experiences.
The dogs playing in their home territory.


Perpetua said...

What a wonderful break for you! My brother-in-law and his wife love Centre Parcs.

I so agree about the importance of play and relaxation for adults as well as children. In my time in active ministry we didn't do anything as organised as you're planning, but we did try to arange social events such as barn dances and quiz nights for adults to relax and have fun together. It had the added bonus of showing people that Christians, and especially clergy (who even now are so often seen as anti-fun) know how to enjoy themselves. Good luck with your plans.

Thecurateswife said...

We have still have thriving social events including a film club and barn dances but we see a need to get the men more involved. plus young parents are more difficult to get to come to our social events as we have such a thriving more senior congregation. So that is why we are looking at challenging people to have fun and to support and challenge each other in new ventures.

Perpetua said...

Of course there's also the problem of the cost of baby-sitting for young parents in these difficult times. Perhaps some of your more senior members could offer to babysit to enable them to participate without increasing the cost to them?

Thecurateswife said...

That is a good idea - we also thought about running something on Saturday morning ( they have just tried Messy Church ) that would involve the youth group helping with younger children so that parents could escape!
We will be leaving this project before it has really got going but we have learned a lot from the thinking process!!