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Blog: June 2016

We hired Percy White to make some A-frames plus a few other shapes. Very popular. The problem now is clean-up. The sandpit tends to be thought of last by the staff, even though it's arguably the reason why the cob cafe makes money. People come to the park looking for a place for their kids to play, and then they get hungry.

June 2016: new construction

new shovels and brooms in the playground shed
June 2, 2016

We bought four new shovels for $81 at Canadian Tire, plus some short straw brooms at Home Hardware, two small leaf and trash rakes at Winners, soft brooms and dustpans at Toys'R'us. That made 11 small shovels altogether, but on June 2 four had gone. One more came back by the end of the day. Do people take them home?

June 3, 2016, email from Emma B.

"Just wanted to let people know we arrived at the playground this morning to find the slides and climbing frames smeared with peanut butter. Myself and some others have done our best to clean it with baby wipes but something else may be needed as it could affect anyone with allergies still."

By the evening, the peanut butter was all gone, and ALL the shovels had returned (11 are there again now).


June 13: more sand in the sandbox means more fun
June 13, 2016

In the early evening, Steve De Quintal came with Faith, Simon, Gabriel, Joseph, and Sarah (his children) to dig a whole bunch of sand back into the sandbox. The legs of the adjoining benches had been half buried in the sand that the little kids shovelled out of the sandbox over the years. When the De Quintal family shovelled all that sand back in, there were some excellent new sand hills. The kids who came to play the next morning were happily surprised.

June 16 2016

The CBC ran a short interview with councillor Joe Cressy, who wants the city to create some adventure playgrounds. The text of the interview is here. The councillor already proposed a motion about this at city council. We sent him an invitation to come and talk to us -- perhaps he will.

June 20, 2016

A parent writes: "I don't understand the benefit of being a member. I see that you receive an individual card but I can't grasp what we are a member of?"

Response: "the benefit of being a member is that you go from being a person whose children benefit, to a being a friend-of-the-playground who can also contribute -- first off by helping to fund the shovels/pails with your $5, second by keeping informed of any problems that you can give the city staff feedback on. Third by sharing your thoughts on how to keep what's good and maybe try some new things.

Playgrounds like this don't create themselves, and they can easily shrivel up, so every friend-of-the-playground is a help.

Hope that explains it a little better. The membership cards are just for fun, as are a lot of the elements of the playground :-)"

June 20: building materials need cleaning up consistently

Yesterday was very hot and the playground was full of kids enjoying the shade, the wet sand, and the chance to build. During the day there was a play-worker who helped keep everything workable, but in the evening no one cleaned up the construction materials. The staff are mainly focused on the food operations, and some feel frustrated with the fact, as they say, that "as soon as we clean up in the playground, the kids make a mess again."

But in fact, playing, and learning through playing, makes a mess. Playing in this messy way is why families and caregivers come from all over the city to bring their kids here. And staff are hired to help make it work.


staff have harnesses to lend out

Dufferin Grove playground has a special-needs swing, but without a special harness, kids can slip out the side. The park staff keep a swing harness at the rink house -- to borrow it, ask any staff and they'll get it for you.

June 24, 2016

When the sandpit is cleaned up and sorted, it's easier for the kids to find what they want

Sandpit, June 24, nine-thirty a.m.

Sandpit, June 24, 10 a.m.

Sandpit June 24, 2016, 10 a.m.

June 30, 2016

Today was the first day when the wading pool had water in it and it was the market day as well. The weather was nice and there were probably between 200 - 300 people at the playground and another 400 - 500 people in total who came to the market. Yesterday there was a staff meeting at which it was decided -- so I was told by various people -- that staff would take turns at regular intervals all day long sorting at the adventure playground sandpit and moving the hoses for tree watering, since the drought is getting worse and more trees are showing stress. But at 9 pm there was chaos. Apparently two staff either didn't show or had cancelled their shifts without the other staff knowing. So the sandpit was a mess, there were leaky hoses in a big tangle by the volleyball court, no one knew whose job it was to put away the umbrellas in the sitting area, no one had put away the cob area stools for the night. The hoses that were still out -- to water the trees near the basketball court -- had no water coming out of them, but no one had noticed. One of the older staff was racing to get cleaning done in the garage while three of the younger staff were chatting in the office. And so on.

One of the younger staff came to help another staff person at the adventure playground, apparently as a favour. I untangled four hoses and put them on the fence posts for tomorrow.

Last night I was at the park until 10.30, today until 10. We'll see how it goes from here. There's only a partial work plan, no supervision. Welcome to the first day of summer.

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