Parents’ Messy Play Makes for a Great Day

Parents’ Messy Play Makes for a Great Day

At Playcentre we are obsessed with ‘messy play.’ It’s the kind that’s grimey and gooey, icky and sticky, but oh so much fun.

At Rolleston Playcentre a group of parents asked themselves why the kids should get to have all the messy fun. Keen to get wonderfully dirty, and to bond in the process, the hardy band decided to give this past September’s ‘Rakaia Muddy Good Run’ a go.

Centre mother, Renee Lyons, explains how they got started. “One of our parents was interested in entering the Mud Run, but she wanted company, and who better to ask than your Playcentre whanau. We had eight runners and a ninth parent - our wonderful President, Rebecca - who came to watch the kids on the sidelines.”

The Muddy Good Run isn’t for everyone, with challenges most of us are more likely to run from than towards. Renee describes the event gleefully as a “5 kilometre trail run with many muddy obstacles, including crawling under barbed wire, in and out of containers of ice cold water, through a fire hose, down muddy slides, and under and over cars!”

“We set off running together,” she continues, “but split into three groups depending on our enthusiasm for the obstacles and fitness levels. No one was left behind or running alone.”

“A highlight was the bouncy castles, which were thick with water and mud and a real struggle to get through. We needed to work together to push and pull everyone through; not an easy task when you are laughing so hard you can barely move. Some of the other obstacles were an even bigger challenge, like the hay bales. Working together we pulled, pushed and yelled encouragement until everyone was up the top.”

“In the end it was a great feeling crossing the line in our group,” Renee laughs, “and receiving our finishing line beer!”

For the eight participants, the benefits were many. “Our first goal was to have fun together socially, but we also wanted to be role models for our tamariki. We wanted to show them that we could keep fit, try something new, and challenge ourselves, modelling friendships, overcoming doubts and fears, and sharing in our triumphs,” Renee says.

Everyone in the Playcentre community was able to join in. “Some of the older siblings entered the Muddy Good Run’s ‘Children’s Event’,” Renee remembers, “while others made signs to cheer us on. Some ran alongside part of the course to yell encouragement; one even followed us with a camera.” 

“Our older tamariki can't wait until they're old enough for their turn. In the meantime, one of our muddy runners was even inspired to create a mini course on session.”

Participating in such events is great bonding but also a brilliant way to promote Playcentre in the wider community. “We wore Playcentre colours - purple T-shirts, face paint, and headbands - for the race and we posted publically with photos afterwards. We wanted to promote the adult opportunities and friendships that come along with being a Playcentre family,” she concludes.

Centres, tamariki, and parents all benefit from the relationships forged on session. Doing things together outside of Playcentre is a great way to strengthen these bonds and to have a lot of fun in the process.

Our challenge to you is to find an activity the members of your centre could take part in. Ask yourselves how you could promote Playcentre in your community, as Rolleston have so successfully done.

If you’d like to know more about Rolleston Playcentre you can contact them via their facebook page If you’re interested in participating in next year’s Muddy Good Run, visit their website at

Posted: Monday 13 November 2017