We’re often told that kids should never play in the streets. But if you’ve been to an Open Streets Day, you will have seen exactly how safe and fun a street can be. Children are the ones who show us all how to enjoy the space!
It can be a tough sell, though, considering children playing outside has become almost taboo in our society, which tells us – rightfully – that our streets aren’t safe. But the joy of play is palpable at every Open Streets Day, which provides a risk-reduced environment free of cars. Our hope is that one day more of our streets will be this way by default.
To see the kids run up and down without fearing cars is priceless. For many parents, an Open Streets Day is even a reminder of their own formative years, when cars weren’t as pervasive and streets were also places of recreation.
If you want your kids to experience a piece of your childhood, we invite you to join us in Mitchells Plain on 25 March. Whether you choose to walk, cycle or skate, you’ll be able to move around freely with your family without worrying about cars.
There will also be several activities for families and children including free bicycle rides for young kids, a reading corner, mathematics activities, a marimba jam, dance, street soccer and cricket, chess, magic tricks, drama classes, a kiddies fun area, the Cool Kid on a Bike Safety Training and a mouth painting competition, to name just a few.
Playing is fundamental to a child’s development. Engaging in physical activity with friends at a young age allows us to explore and teaches us valuable social skills. This kind of experiential learning has always been at the heart of Open Streets in Cape Town. For us, it’s about showing people of all ages there’s another way when it comes to using streets.
We believe streets should provide choice in how we move around the city and be places for social interaction. If this resonates with you, please join us at Open Streets Mitchells Plain and become part of the movement!
The most powerful way to influence the future is to engage people when they’re young. Likewise, growing the Open Streets movement relies largely on having the new generation lead the way. It may inspire them to grow up to demand more equitable streets.
Photo by Bruce Sutherland