Real Pilot Play!

Real Pilot Play!

When a dad at Lyttelton Street Playcentre brought in his pilot’s hat and a child-sized uniform, he ignited one boy’s interest in flying, and soon the two were off on a high-flying adventure.

At Playcentre parents dig holes in sandpits and laugh with their friends, while children build bridges and buy groceries – the distinction between work and play is beautifully blurred. On this day, young Oscar got to try on a pilot’s hat for size, and Keeley, a real pilot, got to play passenger. 

Meet Oscar. Oscar (4) goes to Lyttelton Street Playcentre and loves pretend play, particularly around the themes of transport and emergencies. ‘From an early age Oscar has loved all forms of transport, starting out with trains, moving through planes, ferries, helicopters, emergency vehicles and most recently submarines’, explains mum, Beverley. ‘Being a passenger on any Oscar-Air or Oscar-Rail trip involves dealing with multiple breakdowns and rescuing people – and not an awful lot of arriving at a destination.’

Meet Keeley. Keeley (much older than 4) also enjoys going to Playcentre with daughters Kaya and Ally. He too has an interest in planes, regularly donning his suit and hat and heading to work – as a pilot.

Oscar was eager to know more about how to fly a plane and, although they owned plenty of books on the subject, mum suggested he ‘ask Kaya's dad some of the trickier questions because he is a real live pilot and would know all about it’.

‘From the moment he saw Keeley, it was flights to Antarctica all the way – I don’t think he even asked his questions’, recalls Beverley. 

Now Keeley is a dad who knows all about the wonders of make-believe play. ‘It meant the world to me to start life as a cowboy. It’s priceless watching children live out their dreams – shopkeepers and princesses one day, pirates and pilots the next!’

‘Oscar, our own pilot, skilfully flew our plane low over lions in Africa and polar bears in the North Pole before crash landing on Lyttelton Street to put out the fire and save the passengers! I'm a very lucky Dad to have survived with only minor burns!’ Keeley shares.

As Beverley points out, reaching a destination isn’t so important. ‘For Oscar, it is always about the trip – and the exciting things along the way’. Which says something about the way children’s play unfolds at Playcentre – not restricted by adult’s ideas of how and where; but spontaneous and free to fly in any direction – with unexpected stops along the way!

By Kate Barber

Pictured: Play at home takes on a flying theme - as everyday objects take on new functions. Here Oscar flies in a repurposed washing basket.

Real Pilot Play!

Posted: Friday 15 April 2016