Play Well – The Wellcome Collection
Freedom Friday: Laura
The Wellcome Collection is one of my favourite places – not just because of the cake and wine in the café, or the incredible bookshop, but because no matter what your typical interests are, there is always something to spark inspiration and intrigue. It’s such a human place, full of thoughts, research and ideas to inspire anybody.
I visited in January 2020 to wander the Play Well exhibition – the space invites you to consider the impact of play, on childhood as well as wider society. Split into three broad topics – Nature/Nurture, Toys Like Us and Rules & Risks. The exhibition explored stereotypes, resilience, culture, gender, social bonds, physical wellbeing, society and the digital era.
I am writing this several months later, and the world has changed immensely since my visit to the Play Well exhibition, with the Covid-19 pandemic in full force. In an exhibition that in part, explored the risks of a post-war country, adventure playgrounds and playing outside, we are now enclosed in our own safe-spaces, with only immediate family for company.
I have spent hours devising games and activities using items to hand at home for my two year old, and parents’ creativity is being tested in this strange new world. The social resilience of our children will be tested in this long period away from their friends, grandparents and childcare providers, each of whom they play and interact with in different ways. And importantly, as we spend much more time with our children, endeavouring to keep them playing in a whole manor of ways, perhaps us adults are learning how to play again too.