Matthew Munson: Beaches, parks and fun through a child’s eyes

A time for adventure

I spent some time in Ellington Park this week with a 3-year-old – one that I know, I should add, not a random stranger; that would be concerning on so many levels – and it made me appreciate anew just how much there is for children in our lovely little isle.

I’m around children quite a lot, as I’ve been of an age for quite some time where my friends are ever more focused on the next generation, and I’ve been endlessly fascinated by their capacity to find things for their offspring to do.


Beaches and parks, of course, are an endless source of wonder. I’m not someone who spends much time on beaches, I must confess; you get sand everywhere, including in your sandwiches, and you always seem to bring half of the damn thing home with you. However, kids and sandcastles are an unholy alliance, so I have to accept that I’ll always be outvoted – but when I can steer the decision-making to a park instead, I always will do.

Photo Frank Leppard

How many parks do we even have in Thanet? I couldn’t find any account that agrees on a precise number, but it’s clearly obvious that there are a lot. My own personal favourites are Pierremont and Ellington Parks, primarily because I’ve experienced those parks through the eyes of children most of all and seen the pleasure they get from these oases of green.

But there’s so much else; a couple of friends took their kids to a slime-making workshop last weekend, which I was rather gutted I didn’t go to – I’d quite happily give something like that a go; I don’t care that I’m 37, I’m still fascinated. Events like that are brilliant in tapping into the innate curiosity of children, and that’s something we should absolutely encourage – all kids are natural scientists in the sense that they always ask why, how, where … and so on. As much as it can exhaust us, being asked 17,000 questions a day, kids want answers, and I hope I can find out answers that satisfy them.

But I digress. I was walking through St Luke’s in Ramsgate recently and noticed the hall there offering various kinds of activities – martial arts, drama, and other things involving lots of colour and noise which made me want to reach for a couple of Valium. But the door was open and the kids seemed to be having a whale of a time, so who am I to judge? That’s just one example of similar clubs in halls and draughty rooms all over the isle – and there’s clearly enough diversity for kids to match their talents.

I never went to Scouts or Cubs when I was a kid – never really suited my temperament, I suspect – but I’m curious to know other peoples’ experiences of those types of clubs; or even drama groups, karate clubs, or junior stargazing. We can sometimes be inclined to put down whatever area we live in, and perhaps to dread the holiday season, but with such an array of activities, perhaps things aren’t quite so bad …?

Share your experiences of good activities for kids; sometimes we find out entirely by accident what opportunities are out there, and who knows – we might yet find the right things to inspire our children’s mind during these holiday weeks and beyond.