By Harry Kane
The greatest feeling as a kid is having the freedom to run around and play outside. When families come together with their children and let them enjoy the environment, everybody wins. That’s what ‘SomerPlay’ in Somerville is all about. It’s a new program launched this summer to encourage play for Somerville residents. A component of the initiative includes innovative play for children in urban neighborhoods.
Every Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Coordinator Paula Jordan hosts play-days for kids at the Somerville Community Growing Center at 22 Vinal Ave. in Union Square. But this Sunday, a special event was held in the garden, Old time games.
Old time games incorporates a bunch of classic games that kids enjoy: sack racing, balloon tossing, hula hoops and balancing eggs on a spoon without dropping them.
The growing center decided to have four or five events during the summertime, said Jordan. “We’ll meet with the city to talk about how each event went.”
Some 10 families showed up with their children between 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Sunday at the quarter acre tier garden, which has been in existence for the past 18 years.
Jessica Hicks, a resident in Somerville, sat in the sandbox with her son. “We love to come here, especially when Paula is here, because she’s amazing with the kids.”
Hicks was with her son, Hank, her youngest, and her two other children. Hank was one of the children that had a good time participating in the sack race.
“It’s nice to have this as a great place to hang out and meet other people who love to be out in nature,” Hicks added.
Another Somerville resident who enjoyed the games with her kids was Tiffany Mann. “It’s good old fashion fun at the growing center.”
Mann was tossing water balloons to her youngest, Willa, who couldn’t seem to hold onto them. “There’s a real technique to balloon tossing,” she jokingly said.
“It went over my head,” Willa said, after the water balloon popped and splashed onto the ground.
The City of Somerville has added SomerPlay to their Children in Nature Initiative, which helps to reconnect children with nature. It’s important, Jordan previously said in an interview, to get kids outdoors, and engage them to be aware of their natural surroundings.
For some more information about the growing center, you can visit their website: www.thegrowingcenter.org
In August, there will be a nature night in the garden, which will be a bilingual event that also will feature a nature guide. August 11, Sunday, 5:30-7:30 p.m., 22 Vinal Ave., Somerville. The event is free.