What does it mean to be a child in a city, or anywhere? How does a child see things? Quite differently from adults, as it happens. This perspective might help many of us to slow down, appreciate more, and be more playful, as we orient to a child’s experience of scale.
The Hand-Made Play Collaborative in Tokyo (one of the busiest cities in the world) investigated how children enjoy and learn from non-commercial play, by telling “one story of the everyday treasures of a rainy day walk“.
This is their map of a child’s experience of a city.
Children experience a great deal from the time within the pauses of activity, the research tells us. They like routine — a small ritual within a routine walk can have great meaning. They learn by experiencing and experimenting, by noticing similarities and differences and moving things around. Adults tend to hurry kids, to grow impatient with their observations and not honor the way they experience time.
The main message from Hand-Made Play:
Slow Down. Stop and listen.
It can be a challenge to get out of our adult mindsets and concerns to do this. The rewards, however, are rich for both children and adults. Paying attention to child-scale could impact our actions and even our city planning. As usual, it is beneficial to try to see through the eyes of a child.
Images: Hand-Made Play
Thank you, Kerala Taylor of Kaboom, who first wrote about Hand-Made Play.