With the stresses that modern day life brings to parents, it's often hard to keep the kids entertained let alone maintain any resemblance of a social life - it's either one or the other (and the kid usually wins).
Play in the Park is an initiative started and funded through the family orientated charity Communicare. The goal is to provide two things; one is to provide a safe and fun environment for young kids up to five years old to play outside with similar aged children from the local area.
The second aim is to establish social groups amongst the parents of the kids, providing interaction based on common backgrounds - in this case being new to parenthood.
The first aim is definitely achieved, watching the kids run around on the pop up mini playground laughing and interacting with the other kids was quite a site, and one that is becoming increasingly rare with kids choosing technology over the outdoors these days.
The service is run for free between 9:30am - 11:30am and involves a variety of craft, games, stories and other fun activities for both parents and children to join in together.
Being able to get the children out into the parks is a great concept. Perth families don't have those same huge backyards we all grew up with, leaving kids stuck inside with video games and TV shows. So the fact that Communicare is getting kids back out into the great outdoors is just fantastic to see, personally I couldn't imagine growing up without the outdoors!
The second aim of creating new social groups seems to work well too. The children are supervised by Armadale Community Family Centre representatives, but parents are required to stay around too. This gives new parents the chance to mingle with other parents in similar situations with an instant talking point (kids, parenthood etc).
From talking to the supervisors it seems many of these new-found friendships become long lasting for both the parents and the children, lasting well into the school years. The success of the PITP program to create long-lasting relationships helps both parents and children throughout those early years when the going can be tough on new families.
The Play In The Park service is held in three locations weekly: Mon, Thurs, Fri: Memorial Park, next to the Armadale Centre Shops. Tues: Champion Indigenous Centre, Seville Grove. Wed: Westfield Park Primary School, Cammillo.
All services are 100% free and operate from 9:30am - 11:30am
If you do would like to contribute to the Communicare program you can send donations through the website here. All donations above $2 are tax deductible and are greatly appreciated.