In 1983, in response to media concerns about a decline in children’s play, a Nottingham headteacher collected the rhymes and games played by the children in his school.
Blue Bell Hill Games by R.A. Smith, illustrated by David McKee, was published by Puffin; in the same year Central TV screened a 14 minute feature, based on the book, about the games played at the school.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the book and film, in 2023 a research team of ten Year 6 Bluebell Hill pupils worked with Rick Hall and Chris Hall to find out what the children are playing today. First we had a careful look at the original book and film. Then the researchers broke into sub-teams to survey all the different year groups in their school. We worked as a group to analyse the survey findings and to decide the best way of categorising the games that were being played.
We used these findings to create the shooting script for our film and worked with professional videographers to make the film (watch below) which was premiered in Blue Bell Hill School assembly in December 2023.
This project and short film was created as part of the 3 year Creativity Collaboratives Nottingham project, (funded by Arts Council England and Freelands Foundation).
Now in 2024, the nature of children's play is again raising questions and concerns. The research team hopes that this latest version of Blue Bell Games is a useful contribution to an ongoing debate for Nottingham schools.
The games and rhymes featured in this short film have been researched and collected by a team of Year 6 pupils at Blue Bell Hill Primary School in St Ann's, Nottingham. Thanks to Archie, Ethan, Louis, Dre'marne, Pippa, Liyu, Lily, Vanessa, Poppy and Mariama.
Cinematography: Todd Franklin Editor: Georgianna Scurfield
Project Leads: Rick Hall and Chris Hall
Please click play and go to settings (bottom right of your screen), to select HD and watch in high definition.