Ponies came to Barnard Park last Sunday to make friends with urban children. It was all part of the Kids Big Play Day on May 25, a pop-up Sunday event where children and their families enjoyed activities for play, art, food and fun in the park. The event was organised by Friends of Barnard Park, working in partnership with the Adventure Playground. It was a brilliant day. The sun shone, families picnicked on the lawn and there were PONIES!
Think Like a Pony, an interactive workshop, brought ponies to the park and provided a magical experience for local children. Lynn Henry, an inspired trainer and her colleagues, gave instruction on how to relate to ponies and then took children to meet the ponies and gently stroke them. There were two ponies to greet – one grey and one brown. Volunteers made a temporary corral with crowd barriers for their equestrian guests.
Kids had plenty of play opportunities too. The Adventure Playground opened to children ages 6-13 its exciting outside play space with serious rope swings, a zip wire, aerial walkways and climbing walls. Glen Billey, playground manager, made sure the kids had good, adventurous fun. In a play zone for the under sixes, children won medals for wacky races and games in the Children’s Olympics organised by Greenspace ranger Fiona Mackenzie-Cardy. There was a bouncy castle, supervised by TK Events – Tracy and Ken who live on the Barnsbury Road. In a nearby gazebo, the Friends served cakes, coffee and tea with cake decorating for kids.
Making activities for children were located under the trees. Local artist Carol Baker provided tree branches, leaves and other natural materials for children to make art. Volunteers from Oxjam, the Islington music festival, painted faces and made t-shirts with kids while acoustical musician – another Oxjam volunteer – strummed a guitar.
Daisy’s Dutchpot, Barnsbury Road, served up delicious Caribbean barbecue. The Daisy crew really pulled out the stops with goat, jerk chicken, pork all on the menu – it was a real park feast. Italiano Ices supplied swirly ice cream cones from its colourful van.
Familes had a great time in a lovely park setting. Thank you all for joining in.