‘Toys are children’s words and play is their language’ (Gary L Landreth).
There is much more scope for a young person to communicate through play when they don’t have the complex language we adults use. They can recreate scenes, find objects that relate to or represent a feeling, create shapes, images, colours, movement. They can build and then destroy. Play allows a child to practise and experiment with skills and ideas for their development. They can take risks safely, process emotions and simply be in their imaginations. This is essential for children’s emotional and physical development and in today’s world, children don’t get enough opportunity for free play. Issues of safety dominate their world.
At Chomp, we set up the space to encourage independent play within the safety of our walls and containment of adults present. Children get few opportunities to be in control and have choice, so having spaces that provide a variety of things to interact with is important and needed more within our city. This need is especially there for children over twelve years of age.
In a Chomp session you will find a specific craft option that is usually linked to mindful activities, current culture or nature’s rhythms. There may be a visitor who could have artifacts to look at, community art projects to contribute to, stories or dance to get involved with. This is another specific option. Around these tables sit others with a range of toys to play with, hula hoops to hula with, bean bags to throw, stories to read, dolls houses to set up house, lego to build with and of course the football table, which is very popular! Children at chomp are free to interact with any or none of our set up and we are there to facilitate their choices.
Rosie Blunden 2022