One of a series of photographs documenting children's games, including Hopscotch, Elastics, string games, riddles and rhymes, drawn on the footpath and pinned to a tree in front of the home of Judy McKinty, for passing children and adults to play. Judy McKinty is a children's play and folklore researcher. The photograph shows Judy's granddaughter playing on an elastics pattern, watched by senior curator Deborah Tout-Smith. The photograph was taken by Museums Victoria photographer Jon Augier, part of a project to document the experiences of Victorians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Judy writes: 'When the COVID-19 pandemic caused the early closure of Victorian schools at the end of Term One, I thought of all the children staying at home for who knows how long, and the huge changes this would make to their play. Instead of their usual games with friends at school, they had to play with their brothers and sisters, or by themselves if they had no siblings. The pandemic also forced children and parents into an artificial situation, where they were together all day, every day, and I wanted to try and offer some experiences that families could share together, based on common childhood play experiences. So I started drawing Hopscotch patterns in chalk on the footpath in front of my home, and pinning sheets with descriptions of children's traditional games onto the tree at my front gate. It was a very scary time for everyone, so I included rhymes, riddles and jokes to help lighten the mood and give people something to smile and laugh at. I was primarily thinking of children, so I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction of adults to the street games.
'At this time, people were passing by on their daily exercise walks or on their way to the nearby park, and many stopped to 'read the tree' on their way or jump through the Hopscotch patterns. I made sure the patterns were changed after every rainy period, and drew a wide range of shapes, some with different languages and others designed by children I knew. People seemed to find their own connection with the patterns and with the games on the tree, and a teacher who lived in the neighbourhood took photos and videos to show to her class during their remote learning sessions. Families also told me that they were saying the riddles around the dinner table in the evening, so I made sure the riddles and jokes on the tree were changed regularly.
'Through the street games, people have interacted in a positive way with each other and with me, and I hope it's helped to make the whole 'stay-at-home' period more bearable for people in my neighbourhood. Hopefully, children might have some pleasant memories of this very scary time.'
Description of Content
Suburban driveway with chalk drawings with young girl playing. Adult woman watching.
Born Digital Image.
Digital Photograph, Colour
Type of item