Kay Park in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire is the first in Scotland to introduce an Expression Swing, new intergenerational play equipment allowing children and adults, or older siblings to swing together, face to face.
The Play and Early Intervention team of Vibrant Communities in partnership with EAC Outdoor Services team collaborated to secure this county grant from Fields in Trust and install the new equipmentin this much-loved park.
The innovative Expression Swing promotes intergenerational play widening children’s experiences from the earliest of ages as well as developing strong emotional bonds between parent/carer and child whilst playing. Rather than adults pushing children from behind on a normal swing both parent and child can now swing together seeing each other; encouraging meaningful, social play and secure attachments.
The science behind the Expression Swing is that when a parent and a child make eye contact during play, something special happens. The positions of the brain that are responsible for balance and coordination, thought and language are stimulated. Scientists have observed an increase in brain activity in both parent and child at the moment of eye contact... this moment of “play attunement” is critical in the development of the parent/child bond and is essential in the early development of a child's life. (GameTime; Science for Social Change).
Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said “We know how important parks and playing fields are for children and families. They are places to relax, play sports or hold community events. Ensuring they are around for future generations is a top priority so we are delighted that we have been able to protect these valuable assets for the long-term and to fund the improvements with a Fields in Trust County Fund grant”.
Fields in Trust is a national charity that operates throughout the UK to safeguard recreational spaces and campaign for better statutory protection for all kinds of outdoor sites. Kay Park, Kilmarnock has legal protection through Fields in Trust to ensure it is secured as public open space for future generations.