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National Play Day

We put together an innovative activity for National Playday in Wisbech, pushing the boundaries of traditional cross stitching.

August 2023

Playday is the national day for play, celebrated each year across the UK on the first Wednesday in August.

MarketPlace works closely with the children and playworkers at The Spinney Adventure Playground, Wisbech. We were invited again to be part of this exciting annual event in the centre of Waterlees Estate.

The Playday theme for this year wasPlaying on a shoestring – making every day an adventure’, with the focus on the everyday low-cost or no-cost play adventures that children can enjoy at home, in settings, and in our communities.

Having spoken to the playworkers and children at the Spinney, they were keen to see something sculptural as well combining the textile elements from the Wisbech Stories arts programme MarketPlace is producing in partnership with the Spinney Adventure Playground and Wisbech & Fenland Museum.

MarketPlace put together an exciting activity pushing the boundaries of traditional cross stitching. Participants used yarn, string, cord and even shoe laces to stitch directly onto fence panels. This, alongside stitching onto some hessian fabric using coloured wools with Textile Designer Karin Forman, created a wonderful learning platform for children and adults alike. An inexpensive, frugal way to create, craft and play. Graffitiing with yarn!

One mother said how good it was for her son to improve his motor skills, through play. Other children were surprised at how much fun it was to stitch with coloured wool to make a picture. Someone asked if they could stitch on their fence at home – we said they had to ask their parents or carers first! But it shows how art, play and a few household items can engage the imagination.

The activity inspired participants to sit and play with string and yarn –  some people stayed for hours, stitching on the fence and fabric. We also handed out free cross stitch kits for those who were eager to continue the activity at home. 

Fancy Fencing was also a catalyst to inspire people to come and join in our Wisbech Stories programme taking place on Saturdays from 23  September to 21 October at the Spinney Adventure Playground.

Peggy Mends, Creative Producer, Fenland