As soon as the transformers are watched then we will play ! Children in BOTIK. Photo: Tanel Aus
One late spring evening, on the main street of the Põhjala factory, girls in pink competed against each other in a bicycle race. Their carefree frolicking was a nice example of how any environment offers numerous play opportunities for children. Even if it's just a lumpy patch of asphalt in the middle of a former rubber factory.
Children's World at the Disainiöö and at the Christmas event of the Põhjala factory: a room full of straw and foam. Photos: Miia Laur, Eva Liisa Kubinyi
Our old factory has a different space than usual: strange holes, turnstiles and interesting nooks and crannies that make children's imaginations work. We still have freedom, air and nature. The same is the case in Kopli, where you can still see small, laughing people running around on their own with a city permit.
We have completely domesticated some children at the factory. Like, for example, Hans, Hugo and Aston from next door, who are building the children's area of the Põhjala factory. That they build it themselves? "All by myself, yes!" the boys say and start the jigsaw in between ZOOM lessons.
Our boys. Construction of the outdoor kitchen is underway. Photo: Tanel Aus
Last summer, chickens became the attraction of the Põhjala factory. In fact, a whole community garden, where the children took green onions straight from the bedding box and didn't even look away despite the bitter bite. "What is it" I ask another kindergarten group, and show dill. “Chives? Parsley? Arugula? A carrot? Dill?” offered by children throughout. Only those who have been involved in gardening since childhood know. Right or wrong doesn't really matter. The only thing that matters is that you can love and get excited about chickens, bees, hedgehogs and dogs.
To make matters worse, children with their parents have found their way to our community bar. BOTIK climbing nets and swings attract toddlers like a magnet. Wait, there you can sit outside by the fire, throw your own wood into the fire and bake bread? Eat ice cream? Buy old-school waffles at the counter? Paint log elves in the greenhouse?
That's how we live here... We think we're building a cultural factory and running a bar, but in reality we dream of a forest garden and a junk playground, which the children build themselves. We are very happy with the kids. Looks like the crush is mutual!
See you on Mother's Day!
P.S. Dear parents, when you come to the factory and BOTIK, put old clothes on children. Let them get dirty, soiled and colored. It's nothing, honestly. Because:
“play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” (Joseph Chilton Pearce)