Scene 2: Fantasy Playground

08 November 2013


Before arriving in Cape Town, we knew that we wanted to incorporate the ideas of the children into the design of Perseverance Park. We thought of various ways of doing so. However, after participating in an activity ourselves with other members of the Cape Town Project Centre, we knew exactly how we wanted to involve the children of MGV. During our preparation term, our team came together with big paper, markers, and post-it notes to create our own fantasy playground, disregarding boundaries and other imitating factors that we may realistically encounter. Having had a lot of fun during the activity, we knew asking the children to draw their fantasy playgrounds was a great way to gather their ideas on what they want to see in Perseverance Park.


Cast of Characters:

MGV Park Team: Lucine, Tyler, Katherine, Zack

Village Tods: Staff and Students


Setting: The classrooms of Village Tods Educare Centre in Maitland Garden Village


Scene (Zack’s Perspective):

We walked into the classroom for the 3-4 year olds at the crèche and saw all the children sitting patiently on the floor in anticipation of the activity.  The teacher indicated that they were ready for us, and Lucine began to explain to them briefly that we were here to help fix their park and that we wanted to do a fun activity with them.  She continued saying that she wanted everyone to draw themselves playing on their favorite part of a playground.  Zack began unpacking the bags of crayons and paper and passing them out to the children.  It was clear that they were still not quite sure what to do, and the teacher chimed in, in English and Afrikaans trying to stimulate the children to draw whatever they like to play with.  This familiar voice seemed to spark more interest and the children began grabbing crayons and coloring their papers.

Zack grabbed a piece of paper and a crayon for himself, and began drawing his own playground in an effort to stimulate the children to do the same.  Lucine walked around speaking to each of the kids to determine what it was that they were drawing.  Interestingly, some said they were drawing snakes and spiders, which confused us until the teacher explained they had just sung ‘The Itsy Bitsy Spider’ for the concert they had just had.  Many drawings were hard to interpret as the children hadn’t yet developed their fine motor skills.  In these cases, we tried to ask the child what they had drawn, though this too was difficult with some because they were shy around us.

After enough time had passed for them to draw, we collected the papers and crayons from the children and thanked them for their help, promising we would try to incorporate some of their ideas in the park.

Next, we moved into the classroom for the 4-5 year old students.  They too were waiting patiently, sitting at small tables.  Again, Lucine introduced us and explained what we were doing here.  The children seemed to comprehend better, and with a little further stimulation from their teacher they began drawing.  Zack sat down at a table with 4 of the children and began drawing his playground to help get them interested.  Lucine walked around checking in with each table to see what they were drawing and to try and spark their creativity.  The children were very engaged in the activity and from time to time would excitedly lift up their paper to show us what they had drawn.  Though their attention spans wandered from the park theme occasionally, many drew swings, slides, seesaws, and round-a-bouts.  The children were particularly thrilled when we took their picture, and would pose with friends then laugh and smile happily when we showed it to them.  Students began handing in their papers and soon we had collected them all.  They even actively helped to collect the crayons and return them into the bags.  We thanked them for their help, and again promised to try and put some of their ideas into the new park design.  As we began walking out of the classroom, kids began rushing up to us to give us hugs and high-fives, even asking if we would be back the next day!  We met back up with Tyler and Katherine who had finished the activity with their groups of children, and we left the crèche happy and smiling.

scene 2


It was difficult for us to discern what the 3-4 year olds were drawing because most did not have the fine motor skills required to draw distinct figures.  They could also be shy when we tried to talk with them, but the teacher was a great help with interacting and stimulating them.  It will be hard to gather useful information from this group, but it is possible we could incorporate their love of snakes and spiders in a unique way.

It was a lot of fun to work with the 4-5 year olds, and they were full of energy and excited to show us what they had drawn.  They definitely provided some distinguishable designs and it will be interesting to go through their drawings.  Overall it was a fun experience, and a great way to connect with the children of the community who will be a large audience for the new park design.


Scene: (Katherine’s Perspective):

We walked into the room of 5-6 year olds knowing that this was the oldest group of children at the crèche. We anticipated that their drawings would be the easiest to decipher what play structures they want in the park. The teacher set up small tables and chairs and the children eagerly gathered around. We explained that we wanted them to draw the best park that they could possibly imagine and to place themselves somewhere in the park. Katherine and Tyler began passing out paper and crayons to the children, stressing the importance of sharing the crayons, as there was not enough for each child to have their own bag. As soon as the materials were distributed, the children began to draw. Some of the kids were hesitant. They said that they didn’t know how to draw what they were thinking of or that they did not know what to draw at all.

Before we knew it, their papers were full and students were asking for more paper. Looking at the fantasy parks, some of the children really took the word “fantasy” to heart, drawing cars and televisions as key elements of the playground. They called us “teacher” and would ask us to help them draw something with them, as they clenched onto the crayon with us as we attempted to draw out what they envisioned. When all the papers were collected, we were swarmed with hugs. We thanked them for all of their hard work and ideas and promised to come back and visit. They said it was a “pleasure” and waved good-bye.

We walked into the 2-3 year old classroom not knowing what to expect of the drawings we would get. The classroom was small, but there were 30 children sitting around tables and on the floor, probably having no idea what we were asking them to do. The teacher helped to clarify the instructions, simplifying the activity to drawing him/herself in the park outside in the back of the crèche.

And they were off. There were scribbles everywhere on the paper. It was hard to decipher what they were drawing as the teacher, Tyler, and Katherine continuously went around the classroom asking what exactly it was that they were drawing. Occasionally we could make out a sliding board amongst the scribble but in other instances there was no way to tell what their intentions were. When we asked one boy what he was drawing, he responded “pink”. In fact, his paper was covered in pink scribbles. Soon enough there were tears over broken crayons and it was time to collect the papers. To call order back to the classroom, the teacher had them sing three songs to us as to thank us for coming to visit. When they were finished we waved goodbye and tried to exit the room. However, the door was locked so that the children could not wander out. The teacher had to come over to let us out, clenching on to all of the drawings we gathered in both classrooms.

scene 2.1


In the 5-6 year old classroom, there were some really good drawings. Many of them contained swings and sliding boards. Some are harder to decipher different park elements than others, but it was easy to talk to them and ask them what they envisioned rather than guessing from the pictures. Many of them felt comfortable asking us for help with their drawings. Although we were happy to help, it was hard to respond to those who did not know what to draw. We wanted to pictures to reflect their own ideas as much as possible and not park elements that we have been researching for the past seven weeks during preparation. In the end, once we got them started, there was no stopping the imaginative ideas that came to their heads. Although some of the ideas that they had would be impossible to implement in Perseverance Park, it was a great experience to connect with the children and create excitement over the redevelopment of the village playground.

Walking into the 2-3 year old classroom, we had no idea what to expect. We do not think they could even understand what we were asking as we explained the activity. There were a lot of blank stares and grabbing for the crayons. We are not sure what to make of the end result from this classroom. However, since a park is a space for people of all ages, it was important in involve the youngest children of he crèche in the fantasy park activity. Looking at the drawings on the train ride home, we all had a few good laughs in trying to figure out what was drawn.