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Families brave cold to play over winter

Children and their families tapped into their creativity during a play initiative at outdoor concerts held in the small Tasman town of Richmond. 

Encouraging families to get together and be active outdoors in winter saw Sport Tasman and Tasman District Council join forces to hold a series of four concerts in Richmond’s Sundial Square. 

The successful series, which featured local bands, gave children and their families opportunities to be creative and challenge themselves with play equipment that ranged from balls, parachutes and skipping ropes to foam mats, bean bags and climbing boxes. 

Play, alongside quality physical education and sport, supports tamariki to develop knowledge and understanding to remain active for life. Supporting play opportunities for all tamariki is a key strategic goal for Sport NZ.

The outdoor concerts gave tamariki a chance to design obstacle courses, build huts and repurpose Jenga blocks to build tall towers and bowling alleys. 

“Play initiatives like this are invaluable – the equipment was used and shared by everyone, which promoted different children and families across age levels to engage and play together,” says Sport Tasman's Regional Tamariki Lead, Michelle Kirker. 

“Climbing boxes and foam mats were repurposed to make huts, rocket ships, boats and challenge courses, though the chalk was the biggest hit with some amazing pathway art, storytelling and creativity going on,” she says. 

“The children also made the most of natural resources in their environment to play games, like hedges, park benches, pavers and gutters.” 

Held during Covid-restricted times, the outdoor concert series and play equipment gave families a chance to reconnect and grow connections with others while also gaining awareness of community events. 

“Everyone enjoyed the chance to get outside, engage with other people in their community and have fun, which is what it’s all about,” says Michelle. 

Tasman District Council’s Yulia Panfylova says collaboration with Sport Tasman helped to achieve the goal of attracting adults and children out of their homes and into a space where they can interact and play together. 

On the back of the series’ success, the council and Sport Tasman now plan to run a series of markets over summer in the same location. 

Families brave the cold to play in the town of Richmond

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