National Playday at Eureka!
On Wednesday 2nd August, Playday celebrated its 30th year of being the national day for play: the biggest play event in the UK.
Tell us your Eureka! story
As well as being a celebration of children’s right to play, Playday is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. Events are held across the length and breadth of Britain, and of course we here at Eureka!, being an advocate for children’s play, had to get involved in the action with a day full of events, co-ordinated by the team at Calderdale’s Play Development Service.
The British summer had, stereotypically, shown us its light ever so briefly a couple of weeks ago, and now we were in the midst of drizzle and rain. As we’re Yorkshire folk, we wouldn’t let that dampen our playful spirits, so despite most of our activities taking place outside in the Eureka! Park we were ready to treat our visitors to a festival of fun and play with a little help from our friends.
One of our resident summer storytellers, Ian Douglas, pitched himself just outside of the E! Wonderwalk, which was apt as he came armed with his bodhrán drum and some fantastical folk tales: spinning a yarn of stories all day long. With an arsenal of sagas he has collected from across the British Isles (and beyond), children and adults alike were transfixed in wonder. Ian Douglas comes to Eureka! quite frequently, and if you’re lucky enough to catch him, ask for one of his many ‘Jack’ stories – you won’t be disappointed!
Another frequent visitor to the museum is Riggmoor Reindeer Company who brought a bit of country-life to Playday with a selection of animals including: a pair of cheeky goats, a huge lazy pig, moody alpacas and some chillaxing sheep. It’s always amusing when one of the tiny goats pops their head out of the railing to come face to face with a bemused toddler.
Ian Douglas Storyteller
‘Calderdale Play Development Services, who organised the event, were on-hand with many physical activities to get the muscles working. A climbing tower was erected and this proved popular as kids kitted out in hard hats and harnesses scaled the four sides of the tower continually throughout the day. An Assault course made for a great the cardio workout, as children were ducking and diving, running and jumping all the way through to the finish line.
Scaling the climbing wall
Getting active on the assault course
The front of the 1855 building, that faces the museum, was turned into a go-kart race course which saw children whizzing past one-by-one, probably to the amusement of the office workers inside the building.
Children could also hone their circus skills, as: hips got shaking at hula hooping; sticks and balls went flying in attempts at juggling; and there was some pretty silly walking on stilts.
We at Eureka! love den building and we couldn’t resist making some with our visitors, as some of our Enablers, armed with large sheets of fabric, garden canes, washing pegs and elastic bands, created a little village of dens in the conservatory of the 1855 building.
Den-building for Playday 2017 at Eureka!
Whilst the Marquee just outside the Eureka! entrance was used for some stylish hat making and ever popular face painting.
The good people from ‘The Piece Hall’ also situated themselves in the Eureka! grounds with a fun family trail to their newly re-developed building (only re-opened the day before after three years) just over the road from the museum. In The Piece Hall building they were also getting in on the Playday fun with some craft activities.
Phewwwww! So as you can see, Playday 2017 was a busy one for us, but judging by the smiles on our visitors’ faces (and even the staff’s) fun was had by all. The sun even decided to make an appearance towards the end of the day. To best sum up this year’s Playday, take it from one of our visitor’s tweets on Twitter:
Wow @eurekamuseum your always amazing but today #nationalplayday was fantastic
One tired dad and three boys ready for bed! #bestdayout
It’ll be much of the same but even better for Playday 2018!!!
Some of Team Eureka! celebrating Playday 2017