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Go to Your Nearest Playground!
are you plan
ning for your summer playground? Are you thinking about ways of making the program a little different? Of adding the spice of variety? True, there is little that's new under the sun, but sometimes there are new ways of doing old things! Here are a few sug
gestions from last year's experi
Such sign boards as this will
The Lure of the Fireplace. Last summer the children of East Orange, New Jersey, playgrounds maintained by the Board of Recreation Commissioners enjoyed a number of programs centering about the fireplaces on three of the playgrounds. Groups hiked for picnic meals from the three playgrounds without fireplaces to those which were the proud possessors of these outdoor cooking places, and everything from hot dogs to fudge was cooked by the youthful campers. So much interest was aroused at two playgrounds that at the end of daylight saving and the closing of playgrounds at six o'clock, Saturday morning fireplace breakfasts were substituted for the fireplace suppers during the remainder of the playground season.
A Family Heirloom Exhibit. Another new project last year was the family heirloom exhibit held on each of the six playgrounds in East Orange. Beginning as a children's exhibit of family heirlooms and keepsakes, interest spread to the grownups with the result that almost as many articles were entered by them as by children. Adults made up half of the large crowds attending the exhibit at each playground. There were no awards or competitive grouping of articles; they were merely on display with little placards giving some interesting bit of history concerning them. Many of the exhibitors stayed by their exhibits and related their history to those viewing them. This gave an in
formal and personal touch to the occasion and made it more interesting.
There's a Use for Everything! Recreation departments have become most resourceful in ferreting out material for use in their handcraft program. Raymond T. Forsberg, Superintendent of Recreation in Salt Lake City, Utah, states that the Emergency Service which is working closely with his municipal recreation department has discovered some ingenious ways of providing materials and devising projects.
To secure cigar boxes which play so important a part in the handcraft program, newspaper boys were enlisted through a contest in the gathering of the boxes. The boys collected approximately 8,000 boxes in a period of a little over a month. Merchants saved the boxes for the boys who were identified participants in the contest.
Film cans are generally disposed of by film exchanges as being worthless, but these empty tins can be used in numerous ways in a handcraft program. Sewing baskets, book ends, hot plate holders, banjos, tambourines, lamp shades and tin can articles of all types can be fashioned from these
Bowling pins that have reached stages beyond practical use constitute desirable lathe material. The Salt Lake City recreation department has supplied each play center with croquet sets made chiefly from old ten pins. Table lamps, ash trays and games may also be constructed from these maple pins.
Street car advertising cards offer one good side for poster work and other cardboard projects. A use may be found for window display cards which may be obtained with the expenditure of little effort.
GO TO YOUR NEAREST PLAYGROUND!
A Story-Telling Festival. Story-telling was one of the most popular activities on the playgrounds of Danville, Illinois, last summer, and interest in the program culminated in a story-telling carnival. The children taking part in the carnival followed a fiddler who led them to bands of wandering story-tellers, folk dancers and musicians. The story-tellers, in costumes of the various countries they represented, entertained the children with tales of fairy and folk lore and with thrilling stories of knights and adventure. The folk dancers danced on the green to the songs of the singing fiddler.
Mothers and Dads Clubs. The Playground and Recreation Association of Alton, Illinois, has organized a number of dads clubs and mothers clubs which are helping to develop the playgrounds in their neighborhoods.
It all started when a club was organized for the single purpose of helping to promote a playground in a section of the city where it was badly needed. This pioneer dads club, known as the Kiwanis Water Tower Dads Club, did such an excellent piece of work in acquiring a lease for a playground and shelter house, installing flood lights and other equipment at their playground that other groups were inspired to organize for the benefit of their neighborhoods. There are now seven dads clubs and four mothers clubs all doing everything they can to improve facilities and programs.
During the past year the Kiwanis Water Tower Dads Club raised $1,339 which they spent on acquiring additional property, improving flood lights, sponsoring a baseball team and improving the shelter house. Hellrung Playground Dads Club raised $725 all of which was spent on improving the playground. They recently purchased thirteen flood. lights, paid a coal and janitor bill and a number of other bills. The Mothers Club of Hellrung Playground raised $426 which they spent on flood lights, a loud
speaker system, drapes for the building, dishes and other supplies.
All of these clubs help keep interest alive in their respective playgrounds, and there is a natural rivalry between the clubs as each seeks to outdo the others in making its playground the most attractive and popular in the city.
"Come and See" Days. More communities than ever before last summer initiated "Come and See" Days. On some of these days parents received special invitations to come to the playgrounds and such events were scheduled as father and son baseball games and mother-daughter volley ball games. In some instances an invitation was extended to citizens in general to visit the play areas, and automobile tours were arranged which would give the visitors an opportunity to see just what the city had to offer in facilities and programs.
Community Nights. The Bloomfield, New Jersey, Recreation Commission in a bulletin to workers suggests that one evening each month be devoted to a community night presenting a program designed to show the parents what children have been doing on the playground and to secure their interest in the activities. A typical community night, the bulletin suggests, should include the best of the activities conducted during the week and activities which parents and children can enjoy together. Among such activities are the following:
Boys' baseball game Girls' volley ball game
When days are hot, or when it rains, quiet games will have a special appeal for the children
GO TO YOUR NEAREST PLAYGROUND!
Father and son baseball game
Community singing Toy orchestra
Games, contests, stunts and relays for adults and children
Pet and hobby show
Mother and daughter night
Father and son night
Cycle night (anything on wheels)
Get acquainted night
Mock track meet
Father and son marble game
Come and Bring Your Supper! This was the invitation issued to family groups in one city where community night programs were held last summer. And after supper came volley ball games and circle games. The program features of community night were developed from activities on the playgrounds and included toy orchestras, quartets, harmonica bands, ukulele selections, dancing numbers, dramatic groups, and pantomimes. Community singing, it was found, helped to make the group feel more at home, and many spontaneous features were developed.
Circuses Galore! Play days and playground circuses added enormously to the interest in the playground program in Cincinnati, Ohio, during part of July and all of August when performances were given twice a week on various playgrounds. The WPA band and circus, both Federal projects, were important sources of entertainment at play days. The schedule at each playground was somewhat as follows: At 11:00 in the morning play day opened with an exhibition of stamp clubs and the band gave a concert. This was followed
by races and contests for boys and girls up to fourteen. Then came a comedy softball game in which the male participants wore skirts. Between 2:30 and 3:00 the WPA band gave its concert followed by an exhibition of model flying planes. At 3:00 P. M. a salute to the flag was given by all present. Then the WPA circus clowns, acrobats and other performers went into action. Among other attractions were a wire walking act, an act by the playground magician, and a performance by a trained dog and pony. The day was brought to a close with the serving of refreshments by playground mothers' clubs, PTA and other organizations.
Everything on Wheels. Wheel Day was a special activity developed on the playgrounds of Danville, Illinois, last summer. There were races and parades in which approximately 1,500 children participated, with bicycles, tricycles, two wheel carts, scooters, wheelbarrows, wagons, kiddie cars, and toy automobiles. Some of the oustanding novelties displayed at Oaklawn Community Center playground included an old-fashioned stage coach with footmen and driver, drawn by four boys dressed to represent horses; a cart with attendants carrying fans and dressed in South Sea Island costumes, and a doll buggy decorated in colored crepe paper. After a parade at each playground a series of novelty races were staged. The events for bicycles included a cross-country race, obstacle races, chariot races, trick riding, coasting for distance, and riding without holding handle bars. For smaller children there were tricycle and roller skating races.
A Record of Happy Memories. Each playground conducted by the Bloomfield, New Jersey, Recreation Commission was urged to keep a notebook which will serve as an up-to-date annual or scrapbook showing the various events on the playgrounds. Materials, it was suggested, should be arranged according to a definite plan, possibly with a division for each of the following: Athletics; rhythmic activities; drama; publicity; special activities; special days; handicraft; music; page for jokes, etc.
Another suggestion was that a day by day record be kept in the form of a diary. For this the children brought clippings from home.
N JANUARY 8, 1937,
New York City died. When his will was read it was learned that the greater part of his estate, estimated at about $50,000,000. had been left to establish a foundation for boys and young men to be known as the Charles Hayden foundation.
"I am firmly convinced," said Mr. Hayden in his will, "that the future of this nation and of the world, for that matter, depends in no small part upon the young men of the United States, and that if they receive proper training in boyhood and youth. through education, mental recreation, wholesome educational entertainment and
coordinated physical training, and more than all, if in addition they be fostered and encouraged in the manner of right and proper living and the principles thereof properly inculcated, to the end that they may be kept from evil environments and guarded against baneful influences, we shall rear a nobler race of men who will make better and more enlightened citizens, to the ultimate benefit of mankind."
The general purposes of the foundation Mr. Hayden listed as follows:
(1) To assist needy boys and young men
(2) To aid and assist in charitable and public educational uses and purposes for the moral, mental, intellectual and physical well-being, uplifting, upbuilding and development of boys and young men of this country.
(3) To found and/or to provide scholarships for deserving boys and young men of this country, and for graduates or undergraduates of colleges, and to assist them in attending any educational institution in this country or abroad.
(4) To assist in and/or to found, equip or provide for the maintenance of institutions or asso
ciations for the advancement of learning in this country.
(5) To aid, assist, build, equip and maintain clubs, gymnasia and recreation centers in this country for the training and development of boys and young
(6) To aid and assist and to receive, hold, administer and dispose of property to or for the benefit of any university, college, school or other institution for the advancement of learning or of any branch or department thereof or for the benefit of any hospital or of any branch or department thereof.
Service to the National Movement
For the past ten years Mr. Hayden had served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Recreation Association. His services to the Association and to the country at large were commemorated in the following resolution passed by the Board of Directors:
"The National Recreation Association records with profound regret the death on Friday, January 8, 1937 of Charles Hayden who for ten years served as a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Hayden's first service to the Association was in 1917 when he helped on the finance committee for War Camp Community Service. Mr. Hayden always gave generously himself. In later years as sponsor for the Association in New York City, he helped to increase the number of friends giving and the size of contributions. He was generous in allowing the use of his name and connections in the service of the Association. With all of his business interest, Charles Hayden found time to think about and work for recreation, education and leisure-time activities. He cared deeply for (Continued on page 42)