My experience being a 50 Things Enthusiast
My name is Carrie and I am a mother of three to Amber aged ten, Olly aged five and Isla who is four months old, and I also work as a Co-Teacher in a school-based nursery in Bradford. When Amber was a baby, I had found an abundance of baby classes and groups that I could attend at local children’s centres across the Bradford district, but since her birth many children’s centres had closed, those that remained open had unfortunately had such large budget cuts that the classes I was able to do with my daughter were unavailable when Olly was born, five years later. I found plenty of baby classes that I could pay for privately, but attending each one at a cost of around five pounds per session per week wasn’t sustainable in the long run and I was struggling for inspiration for activities and places to go with him that didn’t break the bank.
This blog is a brief insight into how I have used 50 Things as an enthusiast and I hope that it will give you some ideas and inspiration for your own 50 Things journey.
My experience as an enthusiast:
Whilst working as an enthusiast at events I get the opportunity to meet lots of different families within the Bradford district and talk to them about the benefits of 50 Things. Amber usually attends the events with me if it is the weekend and she is extremely good at engaging any children in attendance and demonstrating some of the 50 Things activities. I have found that people seem more willing to talk to me when I approach them as a parent and have a child with me as sometimes they can think I am trying to sell them something! They are always relieved to find out that 50 Things is a free app! Amber’s jar of numbers comes along to every event with us and children enjoy the excitement of not knowing which number they will pull out and like matching it to the corresponding activity to go home and complete.
I am finding that more and more people are hearing about 50 Things but there is still work to do as some people are unaware of this brilliant resource available to them. I know there are so many different apps out there but I assure you that 50 Things is one worth downloading. It has saved us from boredom (and my sanity) on many occasions and we find it especially useful during the summer school holidays. There is a very useful events page where you can find free events happening around the Bradford District. I always direct new users of the app to this area, as parents often agree with me that it can be difficult to know where to look for free events and things to do, so having this tab on the app is ideal. Instead of searching lots of different social media pages, hopefully you can find lots of ideas, events and information conveniently in one place.
Feedback from parents at events is always around the simplicity of the activities and how children can explore and take their learning in their own direction rather than having an end product or idea in mind for them to complete. I find that taking along more open ended resources allows the activity to be more inclusive for different ages and stages of development and what one child will choose to do with something is the complete opposite to what another child may choose to do. It’s this simplicity that enables children to repeat the activity in so many different ways and does not require much setting up from an adult, another plus when you are a busy parent. I will always take at least one of the 50 Things along to events so that families can try out the ideas first hand and I encourage them to download the app there and then so they can begin adding photos to the memories section and start their 50 Things journey.
Working as an enthusiast has given me knowledge of new places to visit and I have built up a range of contacts with other agencies in Bradford which has been very useful to me both as a parent and a practitioner as I always have somewhere to direct parents or myself to. Living in Bradford can sometimes be portrayed as negative with children and adults not feeling proud of where they come from, often avoiding answering where they live or making jokes to save the embarrassment of saying where they come from. Before I found out about 50 Things I was sadly one of these people, telling people I met on holiday I lived ‘near Leeds’ or joking about ‘rubbish’ Bradford and having to travel out of Bradford for a ‘good day out’. I have discovered so much more about Bradford and the wonderful places it offers since embarking on my 50 Things journey. I hope now that I am making and passing on positive memories to my own children and to the lovely families I meet at events, they will too feel proud of the city that they come from. I definitely feel like I make much more of an effort to look into local places to visit and attend events in Bradford and ensure that it is these ideas that I share on social media or with parents and other practitioners.
Written by Carrie Priestley
50 Things Enthusiast