Playgrounds provide relief in lockdown

William laughed and smiled as his mum Rachael pushed him on the rope swing for the first time in weeks. Pictures: MIKAYLA VAN LOON.

By Mikayla van Loon

Taking your children to a playground seems like a simple activity that should be enjoyed by all but it has become quite a luxury in recent weeks and months, one that has been greatly missed.

Parents and their children were delighted to be back at parks and playgrounds across the Yarra Ranges as soon as they could on Friday 3 September.

For many parents, playgrounds provide a sense of escape, not only for their little ones but for them too.

Being kept inside during the lockdown has been tough, especially coming up with new and inventive ways to keep children entertained.

Making the most of the sunny morning on Friday, Alana said even though her house has quite a large backyard, heading to the playground was about changing the scenery for her son and daughter.

“It’s just a change of scenery for them. They need to not be stuck at home all the time,” she said.

Her son’s school even gave students a screen free day to encourage them to get outside as much as they could.

Not only was it about getting to do something different for a change, instead of just making pillow forts, Alana said it gave her children a chance to see other people and faces.

“It’s nice that they’ve got each other to play with and still do it but they kind of get over each other as well, so this fosters something new for them to do together or they can go and play by themselves rather than the same old stuff,” Alana said.

For Gemma, she really tried throughout the closure of parks to allow her daughter to play in a more natural environment and said she was lucky to live somewhere that had so much open space to do so.

“It’s a relief. It’s really nice. We still got out and about but you just have to answer questions all the time about why they can’t play on the playground but we still played on rocks and got out,” she said.

Lauren, mum of Zali and Indi, said not having much of a backyard made it even harder for her daughters to be stuck at home and playgrounds reopening was a godsend.

“It’s so good, it’s a lifesaver. Both the kids have just been going stir crazy at home so it’s good to be able to get out and enjoy the sun,” she said.

“It’s been tough, especially not having kinder and stuff for the older one. So, it’s a bit of a stretch but it’s good to have a little bit of relief, we’re definitely enjoying it.”