When I read the e-mail asking for volunteers to take the children to the park I thought ‘That will be fun!’ After some initial problems we were on the bus to Parque Sarmiento with 30 children and 9 volunteers.
We had an elaborate timetable of games like a wheelbarrow race, an egg and spoon race, a relay race, a 3 legged race and rounders. We also had coloured ribbon to tie around the children’s wrists to determine what colour team they were in and prizes for the winning team.
We arrived at the park and it was fantastic. Lots of green areas, football pitches, tennis courts and of course, two huge play parks. Immediately, we had a group of children wanting to go to the play park so some of us took them to the smaller of the two and some volunteers stayed and began a game of football with the others.
At the play park, I became aware of this amazing ability children have: to enjoy going down the same slide the twentieth time as much as they did the first time! We spent a good deal of time in the play park before we returned to where the others were and had a pretty unsuccessful egg and spoon race- they all cheated.
One little boy found a cracked egg in the box and asked if he could eat it- since they were all hard boiled I said yes. The next thing I knew all the kids were walking around eating hard boiled eggs when we had a huge bag of sandwiches, fruit and biscuits. Some of them even came up and asked for salt.
The elaborate plan never really took place but at 5pm we were rounding up 30 happy and tired children. They had spent most of the day playing football, running round and playing in the park. Personally, if I get the chance I would definitely do it again. If only to limit the time playing in the park and use up the ribbon and the hard boiled eggs for their initial purpose! The picnic in the park did not exactly go to plan but that didn’t matter because the most important thing worked – the children had fun.