Have you spotted any yet? On Monday morning, chalk ‘graffiti’ started popping up all over Hull – on streets, in public squares, shopping centres and outside monuments and tourist attractions.
But Hull City Council has made it clear it will not be taking action to clear away the designs and has instead encouraged communities to come and have a look at them – and even create their own.
That’s because the chalkings in question are hopscotch grids and they’re part of a campaign to get people to discover and rediscover the joy of simply playing out.
Dozens of the games appeared overnight and now hopscotch fever appears to have gripped the city, with everyone from local media celebs to sports teams and emergency services having a go.
Clips of adults and children throwing themselves into hopscotching have been shared all over social media, with everyone having their own favourite way to play. Those taking the challenge include BBC Look North and Radio Humberside stars Peter Levy and David Burns, Hull FC players, police officers, firefighters, a Brownie pack and even pet pooches.
Anyone who comes across a hopscotch gird has been urged to get on, have a go and share the video or picture to social media with the hashtag #HullPlayingOut.
Parents, carers and any other community members have the power to keep the Playing Out spirit alive after the chalk grids have washed away by signing up to be part of the Playing Out scheme. Introduced as a successful pilot project last summer, Playing Out empowers communities to use a very simple process to apply to the council to close streets to traffic for periods of a couple of hours.
Once approval is granted for an agreed date and time, participants receive a kit with all they need to organise a play session, including road signs, chalks, high-vis gear and skipping ropes. Hundreds of people in Hull got involved last year and this year’s goal is to make Playing Out grow. The project is open to all communities and advisors are on-hand to talk applicants through every step of the process.
Research shows there are long-term benefits to both physical and mental health for children who spend more time playing outside. Playing Out can also afford a rare chance to get to know neighbours, make friends and come together as a community.
A free coffee morning workshop where you can learn more will take place on Thursday March 7 at The Parks Children’s Centre, 9.30am-10.30am.