Playtime at Footprints
Picture a Christmas morning; a birthday, or just a moment of indulgence when buying a toy to play with for children in the UK… For most, not all, it would consist of brightly coloured plastic toys in all shapes and sizes. A yellow plastic tea-pot, An 'authentic' BBQ, a Barbie doll in her glad-rags and the like.
But what is play and why does it matter? From culture-to-culture, play is basically the same. And when I talk about play, I am talking about imaginative, unstructured, and unregulated play. Where little minds develop their own strategies for collaborative games, with ideas that sprout from 'nowhere', and scenarios for life are expressed, experienced and practised without the adult implementing rules or restrictions.
In Kenya, play is no different – just the availability of materials to play with. Here, even the simplest of things become 'playable with', and as with any culture, play fits itself nicely alongside the environment from which one is surrounded by. In Kenya children make chapatis, mandazi, stews and chai. They carry their pretend water in containers on their heads, stir pots with sticks, carry 'milk' from the cows in old plastic pots (nothing goes to waste in a 'Kenyan kitchen') and sing, laugh and share stories about their lives and culture whilst doing so.
Footprints offers children a chance. A chance to play again, and to be safe to do so. Where your support allows them to feel free in an environment where they are able to replicate their own culture, though their collective, imaginative play, while in an environment that supports their individual needs and growth. The children of Footprint thank you!
Author: Sarah Morton