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Also inside… • • • • • •

Play News & Updates “I’m Bored!” - Play Ideas Play Day Photo Gallery Info for Playworkers Hallowe’en Feel Box Game Playwork Training

News Oxfordshire Play Strategy being Updated The Oxfordshire Play Strategy is being updated by the Oxfordshire Play Partnership. If you would like to give comments or ideas about the update, you can find the existing play strategy on the OPA website at Resources. Send your comments to

Let’s Get Physical New physical activity guidelines have been published by the Department of Health. They are the first ever UK-wide physical activity guidelines. It is also the first time guidelines have been produced about sedentary behaviour. The latest evidence shows there is a clear link between lack of physical activity and chronic disease. The guidance spells out the recommended minimum levels of activity for each age group:

• Under-fives: three hours each day, once a child is able to walk.

Play England: Catherine Prisk

• Children and young people (5-18 year olds): 60 minutes and up to several hours every day of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity. Three days a week this should include vigorous intensity activities that strengthen muscle and bone.

has been appointed full-time Director of Play England. She brings with her not only a love and enthusiasm for children's play and the play sector, but also her background in championing children's opportunities to play.

newsletter is produced by Oxfordshire Play Association on behalf of the Oxfordshire Play Partnership, a group of organisations whose aim is to increase the amount and quality of play opportunities for children and young people aged approx 0-19 years across Oxfordshire. OPP creates and updates the Oxfordshire Play Strategy — this and lots of other OPP info is available on Oxfordshire Play Association’s website — see under ‘Play Resources’.

For further information about OPP, Inspiring Play or any other aspect of play and playwork, contact Oxfordshire Play Association: Tel: 01865 779474; email:


Street Play Returns to Oxfordshire! The successful Playing Out project (closing streets to enable local children and young people to play on them) is coming to Oxfordshire. The first street closure will be on Wednesday 28th September in Oxford. If you would like to close your own street, or would like to find out more about the project, call Jane Gallagher at OPA on 01865 779474 or email or visit the Playing Out website at

Play in Primary Schools

Summer may be over, but the 100 fun ideas produced f o r Change for Life’s ‘Really Big Summer Adventure’ are still a great source of play ideas. You can also print a wallchart of the play ideas, which include: • Hot Potato • Blob Tag • Gymnastics Display • Bushtucker Trial

An evaluation of the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) programme found the scheme dramatically improved schools' attitudes to play, much to the benefit of the pupils. The report is available here: http:// supporting-school-improvement-throughplay.aspx Participants saw that improving their play practice: • improved attitudes to learning • reduced demands on senior managers • saved money To share the outcomes from the OPAL programme Learning through Landscapes and Play England have come together to present two days of inspiration, evidence and practical ideas focusing on PLAY IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS.

You can find the ideas on their website at

13th October - Field of Dreams A field study tour of six wonderful places to play and learn. 29th November - Head to Head Conference This conference will help schools to create the right conditions for good play. More info is on the Learning Through Landscapes website: 3

What are the new Early Intervention HUBS? Oxfordshire County Council’s new ‘hubs’ provide a single early intervention service to children, young people and families facing complex and additional needs. The service is being delivered from seven hubs which provide outreach support across Oxfordshire and will bring together the work of lots of existing services, including those that: • support children and young people at school to prevent • • • •

attendance difficulties and exclusions aim to reduce teenage pregnancy support parents prevent young people misusing drugs or alcohol help young people to get employment, training and further education.

The hubs will be a base for professionals, both from within the county council and from partner agencies, to work directly with local children, young people and families. In addition, professionals will continue to work with children, young people and their families within their own home, school or community setting as appropriate. They will also act as venues for youth sessions to be held in the evenings and on weekends. There is a monthly newsletter for professionals who work with children and young people and for families themselves, to help keep everybody up to date with the progress of the hubs. There is also a poster and a factsheet available to download via the website at These provide key basic information about the hubs and how to find out more.

Update Do you use Orinoco, the Oxfordshire Scrapstore? The scrapstore, in East Oxford (Headington) is an Aladdin’s cave of wonderful, surprising things available at incredibly low cost. It is open to everyone on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 11am and 4pm. OPA members get half price scrap and discounts on new art materials when they show their membership cards. We’re passionate about play. We believe that everyone should be able to access materials, advice and training to make creative play easy and affordable. How do we do this?      

we sell low-cost waste materials for art and creative play we run an artshop that sells new art materials we produce ‘how to’ guides and project packs we run training sessions and art workshops we provide creative play workers for events we have a travelling Scrapmobile that takes both materials and expertise out to settings.

To find out more about Orinoco, see a map and get directions, visit our website: or call the store on 01865 761113. 4

Drop-In, Play-Out Summer 2011 at Donnington Doorstep Donnington Doorstep has been running free Drop-In, Play-Out activities for children and young people for many years. We run these services from our purpose-built Family Centre in Townsend Square, Oxford. Within our busy centre we have a dedicated Youth Space for children over 8 years old. This summer we have had a very busy programme, with 3 daytime sessions per week, 4 Play Ranger sessions and 3 evening groups. When the recent riots began in London, playworkers began consulting with young people on their thoughts and feelings. These are some of the comments they made: “I am scared for my friends in London.” “I don’t understand why this is happening.” “I am worried it will happen here.” “People are thinking young people are bad.” The young people decided they would like to have a community party, to show that they were united. The local community centre let them use the ‘Aunt Sally’, and community members brought along a sound system and musical instruments, including African drums. We had a delicious BBQ and lots of team games. Around 40 people of all ages attended and much fun was had by all.

Hot new items! Currently flying off the shelves are urine sample kits. No, really, we’ve had thousands of these kits donated by a local hospital (they had past their ‘pee by’ date) and they’re brilliant for treasure hunts, nature study, scavenger hunts, etc. Each kit, contained in a lovely cardboard box, contains three sample pots (with lids) that can be used for holding leaves, flowers, live minibeasts (for a short while), or anything else that the treasure hunters or wildlife explorers find. Here’s a top tip. Buy a handful and stick a scavenger hunt list on the inside of the lid. Now put them away in a cupboard ready for the next time you’ve got a nice afternoon and children asking, “What can we do now?”

New Orinoco Website The brand new Orinoco website is up and running. Check out the latest news and creative ideas at: Do you use Facebook? You can stay up-to-date with Orinoco, and support Orinoco by ‘liking’ our page. Please visit and click the button. 5

Four large, public events were organised in Oxfordshire by the local Play Partnerships to celebrate national Play Day (Hill End Play Day report will be in next issue). Thousands of people came and played. The events were too good for words—so here are some photos which say it all (plus a few quotes). “Please keep arranging days like today – we loved it.”

“Walking around today makes me feel very proud to live here.”

“It gives children a chance to express themselves.”

“I did lots of new things that I wouldn’t normally do.”

“A great chance to turn off the TV or computer and get outside.”

“It was perfect for all ages - and free!”


SEE YOU NEXT YEAR! Call OPA to join in the fun or for more info. 7

Safeguarding training - Training Availability

Whistle-blowing policy

The following OSCB courses still have availability:

Does your club have a whistleblowing policy? If not, but you’d like ideas about what to include, have a look at the sample policy on the Community Childcare & Play web pages: outofschoolchildcare. Look under ‘Running a club’ / ‘Sample policies’.

Evening Generalist Safeguarding courses as follows: Wednesday 21 September, Banbury Thursday 22 September, Witney Monday 3 October, Benson Wednesday 16 November, Oxford Thursday 8 December, Benson Wednesday 18 January, Oxford Daytime Generalist Safeguarding courses Monday 10 October, Benson Thursday 20 October, Banbury Thursday 3 November, Benson Tuesday 22 November, central Oxford Daytime Specialist Safeguarding courses Monday 31 October, central Oxford Monday 21 November, central Oxford Tuesday 4 October, Crowmarsh Gifford, near Wallingford All courses are bookable through the OSCB website:

How to make a…

Hallowe’en Feel Box Game Easy, fun and gross! Ideas for putting in box: • Peeled grapes (or olives)—eyeballs • Damp coarse sponge—brain • Cold cooked spaghetti—intestines/ worms • Dried apricots—dried-up tongues • Slime • Dried apple slices—ears • Baby carrots (cooked)—fingers • For an extra scare, secretly put your hand in and grab their hand! Adapt according to age group! 8

‘Whistle-blowing’ in childcare settings was highlighted when a childcare worker, part of an internet paedophile ring, was convicted of sexually abusing children in a Plymouth nursery. The Plymouth Safeguarding Children Board’s summary of events, published last year, is available at: Serious Case Review Overview Report Executive Summary in respect of Nursery Z The literature review prepared for this report identified the characteristics of ‘safe’ settings: • Staff are respectful to all employees as well as children • Staff are open about discussing good and poor practice • Blame only happens in extreme circumstances • Leaders model the appropriate behaviour • Staff are knowledgeable about the vulnerability of the children whom they look after and are aware that abusers may already be in the employ of the organisation • Children are listened to • Staff are empowered to challenge poor practice • Parents are encouraged to be involved in their child’s plan and welcomed to the setting • Whistle blowing procedures are in place and staff know how to use them.

Change of address for Ofsted-registered settings Please note Ofsted’s new address: The National Business Unit Ofsted, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester M1 2WD The Ofsted telephone number for children’s services is unchanged: 0300 123 1231. Email: See for full details, and an online form for contacting Ofsted. The Ofsted Parents Poster for registered settings has been revised to show the new address, and can be downloaded from the Ofsted website: poster-for-parents-childcare.

Help with Childcare Costs The Oxfordshire Help with Childcare Costs Fund 2011-12 provides short-term funding to support families with the cost of childcare where: • • • •

parents are 'between jobs' * this is a significant barrier for those wishing to take up work this is a significant barrier for those wishing to undertake training that leads to work other funding to support childcare costs is not available.

* The Help with Childcare Costs Fund can provide continuity of childcare to cover parents' short-term financial difficulties. For example, if a parent/carer is made redundant, and their child is attending a breakfast or after-school childcare club, the fund may be able to cover the cost of club fees for up to a term (6-8 weeks) while a new job is sought. For more information see or telephone 01865 328997. The website includes frequently asked questions and examples of how the fund can be used.

Playful First Aid—Development Officer Dawn Williams spots another playful idea I have been out and about this summer visiting holiday play schemes. They have all been busy and providing wonderful opportunities for children over the long summer holiday. While visiting ‘Camp Energy’ based at Summerfields School in Summertown, the owner, Barry Grinham told me about a First Aid course that children as young as 3 had enjoyed. Janice Morrison teaches first aid courses WITH CHILDREN. Janice explained just how important it is for young children to understand the basics of first aid and have fun learning the 5 Key Points that they should know if they find someone in trouble. At Camp Energy about 35 children worked through a purposely designed booklet and did role play. They learnt how to bandage, practiced Children phoning for an ambulance and also were able to put someone into the as young recovery position when they are not breathing. as 3 If you would like further details on the first aid with children course please learning email me on If you feel your club first aid! offers exciting activities, we are always on the look out so please do get in touch. 9

Continued... Parasol Project Celebration ‘Concrete Jungle – Get Us Outta Here!’ was a performance for the teenagers to celebrate the end of summer. The event was well attended at Magdalen College School, with an audience of about 120 family and friends. The production demonstrated how full inclusion can work involving teenagers both with and without impairments. There were about 40 cast and assistants, and a great deal of hard work was put in by everyone, ably lead by Dan Norey. This performance was high energy fun, funny, and thoroughly enthusiastic, as were the audience, who were highly supportive and very pleased with the evening where they were totally entertained. I sat next to a mother who enthused over Parasol and was in no doubt that this level of inclusion is not practiced in any other setting: “My boys are accepted just as they are” was her sincere comment. On my left was a young woman who travels back to Oxford from London to help facilitate arts and crafts for Parasol at East Oxford Community Centre—showing that support for Parasol does not stop when people move out of area. This achievement reflects only one side of the Parasol Project, which also supports younger children through After School Clubs and Holiday Playschemes. To keep all of this important and highly regarded work going, the newly invigorated voluntary committee of trustees is approaching all aspects of their work with enthusiasm and fresh impetus. Angela Taylor and Dan Norey head up the provision on a daily basis and the committee wish to support them as much as possible in what they do. The practical expertise and skills that this organisation can provide would be valuable to any setting and would boost their offer of inclusion. The committee is actively seeking to ensure the continuance of this valuable charity. To ask how Parasol Project can assist you and your setting, or if you would like to assist them, please contact the team on 01865 742816 or at

Finance for Clubs and Settings in Oxford City Area If you are thinking of expanding your setting, setting up a new provision, or if you are experiencing cash flow difficulties because revenues are temporarily low please contact me, as I may have funds available to assist you. John Vidovic, Childcare Business Development Officer Telephone: 01865 323332; Mobile: 07584217363

Does Your Club Need a Website — Fast? OPA can create your website, show you how to update it yourself easily, and provide ongoing support—all for £350. Contact OPA—see page 2.

Money to celebrate national Play Day The Community Childcare and Play Team in Oxford love play. We asked organisations delivering childcare on August 3rd to apply for a grant of up to £200 so they could celebrate national Play Day. We were delighted to give 12 clubs a total of £2,300 which meant that over 500 children celebrated Play Day with extra play. There were: picnics, drama, bouncy castles, face painting, wall climb, model making, arts and crafts, traditional cultural games including cricket and golf, sports day, and pony rides. A big thank you to: Larkrise Primary Holiday Playscheme, The Roundabout Centre, Rose Hill Littlemore Children’s Centre, Great Milton After School Club Holiday Playscheme, KID ACTIVE, Headington Quarry Foundation Stage School Holiday Playscheme, Dovecote Centre, St Andrews After School Club & Holiday Play scheme, ABC Funweeks, SOAP, Barton Neighbourhood Centre and East Oxford Children’s Centre who worked hard to put on wonderful celebrations, the feed back shows that great fun was had by all.


OPA’s playwork assessors for the QCF qualification were looking forward to spending the summer visiting playschemes throughout Oxfordshire and taking in all the fantastic play opportunities...... and they were not disappointed!!! Brid Muldoon ((OPA Training Officer) “I was in awe of all the great work playworkers are doing.....alongside structured activities, all the schemes had an abundance of free play opportunities available to all the children. I observed loose parts set up for indoor and outdoor play, and rain wasn’t an obstacle. It was a treat to see play practitioners being passionate about their roles and ensuring that they are facilitating play and making a host of opportunities available to children and young people across Oxfordshire.” Janice Bosley (OPA Assessor/Tutor) “I observed some of my candidates and the children at their play setting (Magpies, Kidlington) enjoying 'Cooking week' at their recent summer playscheme. As well as having loads of fun, they were busy discussing recipes, learning new cooking techniques, experiencing cultural foods, helping one another with chopping, slicing, weighing and then devouring the results! I enjoyed sampling the chapattis and pizzas and was sorry that I didn't have an excuse to return for onion bhajis and apple crumble! WARNING! Any assessors who wish to lose weight should NOT attend this playscheme in future!” Naomi Whale (OPA Assessor) “I was impressed with Play Barton playscheme and especially with the mini tournaments, where all the children participated in high jumps, shot put, sling shot, javelin and a host of other races. They had arranged this themselves, and had called the local newspaper to visit and take photos. It was a fantastic day where the children made flags and banners with the Olympics logo and nationality flags.” If you would like to do some training or gain a playwork qualification with OPA, there are places available on the following courses: • QCF Level 2; • QCF Level 3; • QCF Level 3 Transitional Award (Early Years to Playwork). OPA Short Courses will be announced soon—look on the OPA website. Please contact Brid Muldoon (contacts below) or visit the OPA website to view all the courses and play training we have on offer. Tel: 01865 779474 11

OPA received funding from the ‘Oxfordshire Rural Access to Communities Programme’ to run the ‘Oxfordshire’s Playful Communities’ project. Small grants were given out to rural groups to run a playful event in their community for local children, young people and families.

A total of £6,676 was given out, and 24 Playful Communities events ran between March and July. Quotes from the evaluations... “It was a focus for the village to celebrate the spirit of our community!” “The event allowed us to undertake consultation with young people about future events.” “We received such great feedback we will be doing it again.”

“The feedback was great – they really appreciated the opportunity for the kids to get together. As a result, lots of people stayed on afterwards and we had a BBQ – lots of people made new friends.” OPA are currently fundraising to run the Playful Communities project again, so watch this space - or get in touch with us on 01865 779474 or email

Playful School: One child told OPA that their teacher has ‘Funny Voice Day’ every Friday—at register time, the children have to answer “Here” in as funny a voice as they can, to try and make the teacher and other pupils laugh. 12

They say that boredom is a friend of play, as it can motivate young people to use their imagination and look around for something to play with. But sometimes having a few ideas up our sleeve can help to be the springboard for play that they need. The following ideas are from the weekly (ish) ‘Playful Ideas’ on the O PA website at—all the previous play ideas are stored under ‘Play Resources’. Tails! Everyone has a strip of toilet paper (about 4 or 5 pieces). Tuck it into the back of your trousers or skirt (or neck if wearing a dress). Now run around and try to catch everybody else's 'tail' - but don't let anyone catch yours!

Play with Your Food Make pictures or patterns with food. Spread butter, humous or peanut butter onto a round or square cracker. Add food such as cress, olive circles, grated cheese, cucumber pieces, slices of tomato or whatever else you want. Make a face, a pattern, a cat...

Rain Angels If you think it is going to rain, get your coat on, go outside and lie down on the ground with your legs and arms stretched out. Let the rain fall on you for a few seconds until the ground is wet, then get up and see the dry shape your body has made.

White Boards Buy a few cheap white boards from a stationery shop or the internet. Add white boards pens. Leave around and see what happens.

Magic Arms Stand in an open doorway, with your arms at your sides. Raise your arms until the backs of your hands are against the door frames. Press your hands against the door frame as hard as you can for 10-15 seconds. Then step into the room - your arms will rise up of their own accord! Magic! 13

Health and safety decision ruins crate fun for kids From Witney Gazette, 22.8.11

FOR 15 years the children of Wychwood Primary have entertained themselves with crates given to them by the local milkman. Countless numbers of imaginary cars, ships and dens have been made out of the 25 crates. But now the stunned children have discovered they have been seized back by Dairy Crest – because of health and safety fears. Dairy Crest spokesman Lyndsey Anderson said: “We are sorry to have caused any distress to the children and staff by removing the old milk crates. Yet she said: “Whilst we understand their disappointment at losing something they had come to view as playground equipment, it remains a fact that milk crates are not toys and current health and safety guidelines require that they should not be used as such. Ms Anderson added: “There are lots of ways in which they could be misused and they could break, and it is very sharp plastic if they do.” Ms Bardsley contacted Dairy Crest about contributing towards the cost of a new set of play crates and the company agreed to pay the full amount by means of an apology.



A friend bought me this book for my birthday, but as I’m not very outdoorsy, I was a bit scared to open it at first. But I had my 7-year-old daughter’s birthday party in the park coming up, so I peeked inside to see if it had any good ideas… The first thing I noticed is that it has lots of colourful photos, and is written in bite-sized chunks so you can easily dip into it. It was summer, so I went straight to that section, as well as to the all-year-round bit. The ideas it gave me made for a party that we will never forget—all the children (and the parents who stayed!) had a brilliant time making easy dream catchers (with twigs, wool and nature bits), nature pictures (with double sided tape stuck onto card), ‘Spying on the Treetops’ (small mirrors held under our eyes to see the world above us) and making fairy worlds. Even the teenagers there loved it! An amazing range of activities. I thoroughly recommend it. Joy Shorten

Next deadline is 14.11.11

Inspiring Play is produced 4 times a year by Oxfordshire Play Association on behalf of the Oxfordshire Play Partnership. Deadlines: September edition: 7th September December edition: 14th November March edition: 14th February June edition: 14th May

Inspiring Play September 2011  

Inspiring Play newsletter is for everyone interested in play for children and young people aged 0-19 years. Produced by Oxfordshire Play As...

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