Could the London 2012 Games inspire a generation of outdoor play?
When you’re the owner of a small operation and a few of your projects get delayed, it’s time to get the team together for a brainstorm to fill the schedule.
As I happened to be away with the family on holiday I let the others in the crack Toyology creative mull over the toy releases for the rest of the year and take a look at some of the upcoming Christmas campaigns.
So, on the beach, trying not to think about this gap that had opened up in our schedule, and after cancelling the filming permissions, actors, props and so on, I was into my last couple of days off with the kids, in beautiful spot called Tenby on the Pembrokeshire coast, feels like a million miles away from the capital (and it certainly feels like it when you’re driving with kids).
With several buckets, varying sizes of spade, and the tide just out I was in the mood to create a cracker of a sandcastle. We three started on our structure, with Lord of the Rings style epic in mind, as we’d just done a Lego build of one the week before.
The kids chatted, shouted and a few other kids came over to help (Peter Piper me eh?) and in no time we’d dug a decent hole, made a decent wall around it and had a few laughs and I’d heard some interesting revelations about these kids and their play habits and outdoor activity – some of which inspired a new business venture that we’ll be sharing with you in no time at all.
Each and every one of them, whether they be from London, the Midlands or Manchester had said, without any prompting they were going to do more sporty stuff after watching the Olympics on the box.
I’d never in my life heard a seven year old, or expected one to say “I want to run long distance” or my own daughter admit “If they didn’t wear such daft costumes I might do some synchronised swimming.”
They were all looking forward, and more surprisingly aware of the Paralympics coming up, and, despite one wearing a football shirt the subject of that sport never came up.
The revelation was that far from just having footballer aspirations and all the glamour and cash associated with it, the kids were more interest in the actual sport – I think we really do have a generation inspired.
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton-Smith recently tweeted: “A generation of kids growing up with Olympians as role models rather than reality TV stars is going to make UK an amazing place.”
I’m taking loads of inspiration from these finely crafted words, combined with my Tenby time, more than enough to inspire a few ideas, fill up the next couple of weeks and, most importantly get the business talking with some new blood. Happy Days indeed.
Peter Jenkinson is CEO of Toyology and is this week keeping the sandcastle building day alive by wearing slaps in the office.