ONE of the most exciting aspects of the Commonwealth Games has been the way the event has engaged and enthused children:
The children who are supposed to be obsessed with iPads and iPods are suddenly obsessed with sport. If there is to be a legacy of these games, this is how it could start.
The effect was obvious yesterday around Kelvingrove, Glasgow, where the bowls pairs reached its climax with a gold medal for Alex Marshall and Paul Foster who beat Malaysia in the final and ensured a record Gold medal haul for Scotland.
Wonderful as the win was, bowls isn't traditionally known for attracting a young audience, but there were many children in the crowds gathered round the greens, including the children from Head Start Nursery from the city's Lawrence Street, who had left the classroom for the morning to enjoy the atmosphere.
Across the road from the sport, the latest in a series of shows for families was on at the Kelvingrove Bandstand. Every morning at 10.30am, there are free shows for children and yesterday it was a magic show presented by one Bluto Balthazar.
In the audience was Jeremy Andrew from Inverness who had taken his children, Finlay, 4, and Murray, 8, to the show. "The atmosphere has been great," said Mr Andrew. "And we've got the children out and about in the sun. My father had tickets for the bowls so we decided to come here."
Some of the children stayed on after the magic for a comedy show presented by the stand-up comedian Bruce Devlin, who had to jettison about 90 per cent of his usual material to present a show for children.
He asked them what their favourite joke was and the winner was the old Knock Knock Doctor Who favourite.
Janey Godley was also on the bill and did some jokes about tattie scones, to the bewilderment of the audience. She then got everyone to sing Ye Cannae Shove Yer Granny Aff a Bus (presumably because it's stuck in a traffic jam trying to get to one of the sports venues).
Also among the audience was hairdresser Gillian Cleminson, 30, her husband Keir and their children Isabella, 6, and Alfie, 2.The family have already attended the Rugby Sevens at Ibrox stadium and had come to the West End for one of the children's events.
Mrs Cleminson said she was very impressed with the organisation. "The volunteers are helpful and friendly," she said. "The kids have been to the rugby and love Clyde, the mascot, and were pleased to see that there was a statue of him in the park. I also love the renovation that has been done to the bandstand."
Later in the day, the writer Claire McFall read from her book for young people, Ferryman, which won the Young Adult prize at the Scottish Children's Book Awards.
There was also an open-stage event featuring local bands who were given a chance to play before a live audience.
These shows, which are free, are happening every day during the Games and it's a good way of allowing people to take part in the event without having tickets. Later this week, the Kelvingrove Bandstand shows are also due to feature the country/pop band Starry Skies and a workshop for children by the RSPB.
There is also a strong international element to the shows, with bands from around the Commonwealth taking part including The Funky Shepherds from Lesotho who have created their own musical instruments from recycled material including oil cans, car tyres and twigs.
It's a fair bet the children will love it.
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