It might have just looked like a bunch of kids jumping on trampolines and climbing walls, but at Kids in Motion sports centre in Port Melbourne on Friday 12 April, some important psychological bridges were built - especially for Wallan’s very own Fowler family.
With six kids under the age of 11 - including three year old twin Bonnie, who has impaired vision and delayed motor skills after complications at birth - mum Katia made the trip to Melbourne Friday morning for a very special day.
The Fun Day, organised by Brainwave, was a rare time for children living with brain illnesses and injuries to laugh and have fun in one of Melbourne’s most exciting indoor play centres.
The free day of fun paid special attention to the siblings of brain affected kids and provided an outlet for these kids to play and laugh together.
According to child psychologist Sandy Rea, some of our most long lasting childhood memories are made through play and laughter.
“Play can heal emotional wounds suffered by both the able child and the child with the illness. It can help to heal resentments, disagreements and hurts. It relieves stress, fostering flexibility and helping children to adapt and solve problems. Allowing siblings the freedom to play together increases their understanding of each other’s emotions, thoughts, intentions and beliefs and it is a powerful time to transform and manage any negative emotions that siblings may have developed between each other,” Sandy explained.
Katia Fowler said the day was a once in a lifetime opportunity for three year old Bonnie to experience such an amazing play centre and laugh and play with her siblings.
“It was so wonderful to see all the kids playing together like that. We would never normally be able to go to such an incredible play centre,” said Katia. “And to make it an even more memorable day it was Bonnie’s big sister Chelsea’s 11th birthday!”
Spokesperson and founder of Brainwave, Jo Nicholls says that for some of these families, such days are the only fun outings they experience.
“For financial and logistical reasons many families of special needs kids just can’t access a wonderful play centre such as Kids in Motion,” said Jo.
“That’s where Brainwave can help by covering the cost of the day as well as assisting with the logistics of transport but most importantly, Brainwave connects families and pulls people facing similar challenges together to share their stories and provide much needed support.”
Activities included rock climbing, trampolines, climbing ropes, swinging rings, basketball hoops and many other fun things. Mercedes Benz, a proud supporter of Brainwave supplied 11 employee volunteers.
Brainwave holds regular family Care Program events throughout the year including camps, trips to the zoo and Christmas parties. All activities are supervised by Brainwave volunteers and professional trainers. And in this instance, parents can take some much needed time off, maybe just to have a quiet cup of coffee in nearby Port Melbourne - for some a rare treat.
Fowler family: Chelsea (11), Bailey (9), Campbell (8), Beau (6), Bonnie (3) and Chase (3).