Adults invited to share childhood play stories for TV series

Ladybugs escaping overnight from the egg cartons in which they were placed is one example, but Eastlink Community TV’s Brittany Broderson is hoping many more will come to light in the next two weeks.

The television producer is working with retired UBC professor Gary Pennington to capture childhood memories of play, which unlike Broderson’s ladybugs, will be preserved for posterity in a 13-episode television series.

Broderson said the idea came after working with Pennington previously on a one-hour special about childhood play memories for Eastlink. “Listening to people talk about the way people used to play, it sparked something in us here,” she said. “We finally got our heads around it this year and said let’s do it.”

So far the network has interviewed people at Shorncliffe and two more interview sessions are planned in the coming weeks, open to the general public – one at the Sechelt Public Library on Sept. 14 and the other at the Gibsons Public Library the following Saturday. Interviews last about 20 minutes on average.

Each 30-minute episode, which could air as soon as February, will be based on a theme and interviews will be interspersed with footage and images of play Pennington has captured through his research.

For Pennington, the documentaries at the practical level are intended to reintroduce “to today’s kids time-honoured play forms that people have known in the past with the real view that this is preservation of our culture.”

Both Pennington, 83, and Broderson, 24, are hoping to capture the memories of adults who they say learned to play before technology and helicopter parenting began to eat away at unstructured forms of play.

“Between my generation and Gary’s generation the way we played was so different,” said Broderson, who speculated that while her generation did grow up with technology, unsupervised outdoor play was still a normal activity. “I still have those memories of going and playing outside and being in the dirt, and those enriching stories are what kids lose now,” said Broderson.

Those interested in participating can contact Broderson at or 778-462-3005


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