June 9, 2018 - On Saturday, the Healthy Kids Community Challenge (HKCC Thunder Bay) welcomed Pierre Harrison, educator and founder of PLAYLearnThink (Sudbury) to facilitate a community play day for over 200 children, their parents and caregivers at the Lakehead University, Bora Laskin field.
This event was part of HKCC’s Power Off and Play! initiative, that encourages kids and families to build a balanced day by replacing screen time with more physical activity, social interaction, and fun educational choices.
“We wanted the children in our community and their parents to experience the joy and empowerment of spontaneous, self-directed play,” explained Marianne Stewart, HKCC Thunder Bay Coordinator. “Play offers so many benefits to children including increased physical literacy and fitness, improved language and communication skills and it helps kids develop a positive sense of self.”
The play day space was transformed into a children's wonderland filled with a large variety of loose parts, art supplies, tools, a sound garden and water features. Kids were busy building cardboard castles, forts, musical instruments, playing with water and creating art. It was a place where the children were in charge, inspiring creativity, problem solving and helping to build up their self-confidence. Parents engaged in concurrent sessions designed to help them discover the importance of play in the healthy development of children.
“It was an exciting day,” said Stewart. “Families came together to experience the empowerment of free play and learn about the links to improved children’s health and well-being.
We hope that parents and children will support their schools, childcare centres and community organizations to prioritize play in program planning so that more kids will get to experience the benefits of directing their own play.”
Upcoming Power Off and Play initiatives:
- Healthy food options at elementary track meets in June
- Free swimming at Volunteer and Churchill pools in July & August, healthykidstbay.com for details.