There has been a lovely stretch of gorgeous weather this week. Doubly nice as it has been half term this week so other people also had time off and there were activities going on. On Saturday I was down in Brockley with some of the fire-hazard folks to run games at the summer fete/festival they had going on. Perfect weather for a community festival. And for running around barefoot in the grass.
Fire-hazard's target audience is usually young professionals without kids who are looking for something unusual, active, and somewhat silly to do. The festival? Was filled with toddlers and adults who were just chilling out and listening to the music. Not a lot of adults looking to run around (did I mention it's been hot? It was hot) and many of the children were far too small to be involved either.
Giving it a go anyway, we set up an obstacle course with bits of rug, cones, a handy bench, and three big yoga balls. The idea was that you had to get through the course without touching the grass (it was lava you see), get to the inflatable sword at the end of the course, and then get back again all without being hit by the roving lava balls (yoga balls) or the rock giant (one of the team with an inflatable axe). It was pretty fun and we were having a good time with it.
Every once in a while we'd get a curious kid staring at us or starting to do the course and then I would try to corral the other children who kept stealing the yoga balls to roll them towards the runner. I think we only had three people who weren't from fire-hazard run the course.
There started to be some trouble with the yoga ball stealing children throwing the yoga balls too hard at passing strangers, so being the responsible adult that I am and the only member of the team that was not actively afraid of children I hollered at them all and made a big circle out of red cones and codified the game that they were already playing- which is to say "tag" where whoever was "it" was running away and you tried to hit them with the giant rubber balls so that you could be "it" next. No throwing, only rolling, and no going outside of the cones. Harumph.
We played that for quite a while (me and the kids; the rest of the fire-hazard team was refining the lava game) and then I was losing them and the balls again so we played something called "Manhunt" which is hide and seek and tag combined into one game. I made the other fire-hazard folks put up a boundary perimeter of cones that included a big area to run in and some trees for cover. Each of the kids got a neon yellow arm band and 10 seconds to run and hide. At which point I sauntered over to the one place that they actually could hide and managed to get three of them before they could run away. When you got tagged you gave up your yellow arm band and started running after the others. Last one with the arm band still on wins.
After that game ended we packed up and went off to enjoy the rest of the festival figuring that we had dispensed with our duty. It would help next time if we all had fire-hazard T-shirts and if there were some official looking signs. In spite of the announcement from the stage I think one of the big problems was that people couldn't tell if we were part of the festival or just a bunch of people having a silly looking picnic.
We played manhunt again with just the five of us later that afternoon. It was fun figuring out how to hide in a huge group of people and how to get away without running and freaking out the rest of the people innocently hanging out at the festival. (Most importantly- I won. Remember how everyone else is freaked out by kids? I found the highest concentration of children that I could and so spent most of the game making things out of pipe cleaners in the crafts tent and keeping an eye on where the rest of the players were out of the corner of my eye. They never even looked for me there.)