Half Term takes on a different look this year


We are well and truly into lockdown (albeit with perhaps some end now in sight), the sunny weather has arrived and seems to be here for the short term at least.

I can hear birds chirping and rushing around in the garden, the sunbeams through every crack and crevice into the house and the air smells of freshly cut grass through the wide-open windows. A feeling of calm and excitement all at the same time is seeping in through all my senses.

We at Mando have been lucky enough to work throughout the entirety of the pandemic and we have been able to keep in touch through the brilliance of technology. The workforce was lower than usual last week as it would have been half term if everything was “normal” and I wondered what all my work colleagues were doing during their time off with their families. The social activities usually done during half term would be holidays abroad, staycations to the beach or seaside towns, visits to zoos, museums, theme parks, soft play centres, most of these places are now closed or deemed unsafe so it made me think, what are they up to?

 When I was younger, I rarely remember going on holiday, either abroad or in the UK, I didn’t go to many museums and certainly don’t remember soft play’s, we were happy enough just being OUT, playing football, tennis, rounders, building dens, ramps, bases in woods, climbing trees – having fun. Children these days have the advantage of being able to “play” with their friends without leaving the comfort of their own bedrooms, through the marvel of gaming and conversing via headsets. I admit I have spent many an hour doing this myself, but I would never go back and change the outdoor activities I had as a child in favour of sitting inside and playing computer games. I also describe this as an advantage, which in one sense is true, loneliness for a lot of children must almost never happen now when you are able to press a single button, the console turns on and there are multiple friends sat waiting to talk. The other side of the coin is that children are losing the physical social aspect of life, they are missing the outdoors, they are missing the amazing world out there. Only in recent times have we all become more aware of how much we need that physical social aspect of our lives.
The pandemic has seen a lot of people change the way they think, the way they behave, the way they live! I wonder if there could be a slight possibility my colleagues, my friends, my family might be given the chance I had as a child and that was to just have fun, be creative, get out in the garden with a few blankets and create somewhere from a magical world that only existed in your own heads but was AMAZING for that reason. I wonder if with the lack of being able to travel abroad, or to a seaside town to stay for a few days will encourage parents to become more inventive themselves rather than just taking the kids to the local museums or parks. Could the kids of today benefit from the pandemic in a way that no one imagined – could they now use their imaginations to have fun rather than live in other’s imaginations in digital games. Could there be a moment where parents are grateful they have been given the opportunity to get in touch with their children again and be creative with them – I’d like to think so .
This piece was written by Leon Salter and contactable at www.mando.co.uk