Creative joy ride for children
25 November 2018
The current-term Government endeavours to promote policy innovation. In tandem with this, play facilities for children should also be innovative and creative, and keep pace with the times.
Children’s play gives them happiness and helps unleash their potential to the fullest. The Government is committed to providing inclusive, creative and interesting play experiences for children of different backgrounds, ages and abilities. The aim is to give them handy opportunities to develop through participation, so that they can enjoy the fun of playing while developing their mind, body and social skills.
The Tuen Mun Park Inclusive Playground, which will be opened for public use next month, is a good example. It has incorporated the elements of sand and water in its design to provide interesting themed play facilities for children. Children with or without disabilities are provided with equal opportunities to enjoy the play experiences without barriers according to their abilities.
Built under a pilot scheme, the inclusive playground has ushered in brand new design concepts from the general public (including design professionals and students) through a design competition and incorporated the views of the community in its blueprint.
With the valuable experience gained from the pilot scheme, the Government will add more elements of community involvement to future new park projects. For instance, a consultation workshop was organised in the planning process for the Kai Tak Avenue Park in Kowloon City. Fifty local children and their parents were invited to participate in the workshop and the views collected would be adopted by the project design team as far as possible.
At present, there are 644 leisure venues with outdoor children’s play equipment and 36 sports centres with indoor children’s playrooms under the management of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). Located across the 18 districts, these facilities offer ideal spaces for children to release their energy.
To allow children and their parents to experience the vibrancy and joyful atmosphere of parks, the Government organised a series of “Storm the Park” activities and Storm the Park Days featuring Frisbee, painting, water play, model car and camping over the past two years. The whole series of activities attracted more than 13 000 participants and offered a great time for both adults and kids.
Besides, the Government encourages non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to conduct activities in parks. For example, the LCSD has fully supported the Playright Children’s Play Association in implementing a three-year “Community Build Playground” project from September 2017 to August 2020. Under the project, children and their parents are engaged in a novel way to build their own playgrounds inside the parks by making use of simple tools and materials. Working together, parents and kids get to explore the parks in an imaginative journey.
Organised in September 2017, the first “Community Build Playground” project at Tai Po Waterfront Park was well-received by the public. The second project was held in Lai Chi Kok Park in May 2018. The LCSD will continue to support NGOs in holding events in its parks to enhance children’s play experiences.
Apart from parks, the Hong Kong Space Museum and the Hong Kong Science Museum of the LCSD are also ideal places to visit during weekends. The exhibits displayed in these two museums are both educational and fun. Children are encouraged to explore interesting scientific phenomena using their senses, which will spark their curiosity and interest in science.
Launched in April 2018, the new exhibition halls of the Hong Kong Space Museum, namely the Hall of the Cosmos and the Hall of Space Exploration, have been very popular with children. The new Children’s Gallery of the Hong Kong Science Museum was opened in April 2017 with more than ten sets of new exhibits. These exhibits are specially designed for children in two age groups, viz. 2 to 7 and 5 to 12, basing on the characteristics of their physical, intellectual and emotional development.
Play and games play a subtle part in children’s learning process, through which children will earn unexpected benefits. The Government attaches great importance to children’s physical and mental development and will continue to enrich the play experiences of children by adding more elements of vitality and vibrancy. At the same time, parents should allow their children to have enough time to play and rest so that children can enjoy their leisure time and grow up happily.