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National Play Day ’07Playtime Latest

06/07/2007 – National Play Day ’07

Merrion Square, slap bang in the heart of Georgian Dublin, was throbbing with the giggles, squeals and joyful laughter of several hundred children on National Play Day, held this year on Sunday, July 1st. The little park became a magical world where children of all ages immersed themselves in play.

Vast bubbles bigger than a baby’s head wobbled skyward, Frisbees the size of Viking shields drifted through the air, and fairies and Bob the Builders danced around in circles before, AAAASHA, they all fell down!

The south side of the park, where the old World War ll bunker is covered up with a big grassy hill perfect for rolling sideways down, was transformed into a farmer’s market of fantastic play choices. Organised by Dublin City Council, colourful hand painted signs were draped across bushes announcing everything from team games to messy play. Hoola hoops, skipping ropes and balls of every size lay scattered around for the taking. And taken they were; grandparents rolled hoops while tiny children rolled over huge silver bouncing balls and tumbled onto the grass and entire families skipped together under swinging ropes.

The sound of the freedom to play, of laughter and pure delight, is infectious and the steep slope of that hill is too tempting - you just have to join in! But then it’s time for the kids to step up to the mike and the hill is a stage, so the grown ups melt out of the way listening to a variety of tunes being belted out.

After the song contest we wandered over to the arts and crafts corner where one of my children meticulously builds a sculpture of a man who lived in the mountains out of plastesine and match sticks, beside two little girlssquirting gobs of pink, yellow and orange paint onto a large piece of paper, and sweeping their paint brushes through, watch the thick bright colour ooze satisfyingly from one corner to the next.

But soon the first sprinkling of rain drops were caressing our skin and we all fled to the story-telling tent where the afternoon was rounded off with a fine rendition of “Singing In The Rain”, complete with “bums out, tongues out”, and a lot of happy laughing little voices. More free and easy play for all of us please!