Play Time’s Over

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Elise Cullen takes a trip back to child playground, and realises not much changed.

Being a part time nanny to two seven year olds, in the midst of uni assessments and HECS loans, is what I like to call a nostalgic challenge.

I had the absolute pleasure of taking them on an excursion to ‘Little Dynamos’ – a euphemism for screaming kids running into things on sugar highs. Growing up on the Central Coast, we had very similar places like Hide and Seek and Amaze ‘n’ Play. If you aren’t familiar with these kinds of places, well, they’re basically a McDonald’s claustrophobic playground on steroids.

Rewind about 15 years. I was a bossy, climbing enthusiast who dominated Hide and Seek. Fast forward to the 23 year old I am today – I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Entering ‘Little Dynamos’ set me back from having snotty-nosed, whining kids of my own for about another ten years, at least.

I watched around 30 of the 100 children crying their little eyes out (and not the adorable kind of crying), witnessed three ice packs to the head, one black eye and suffered an instant headache from the moment I stepped through the child-proof door. Mix all of that in with the constant noise of children screaming and you have yourself a concoction fit for a nightmare.

It’s funny how things change. Professor Alex Blaszczynski, of the University of Sydney’s school of Psychology, in a recent Madison Magazine story, said that children’s frontal lobes are not fully developed and as we get older our brains mature, therefore evolving our decision making processes and basically developing and maturing our choices. What was once a gigantic, awe-inspiring fun-filled adventure house is now a nightmare.

Take away the kids, add a splash of alcohol some rave-cave music and 100 single 20-somethings and you could potentially have a fantastic Friday night. But hey, maybe my frontal lobes still have a little room for development.

by Elise Cullen