Give Gifts Top Banner

Sections
Home » Issues » Can Animals Save Us? » Dealing With U.S. Deficit: Outdoor Playtime For Kids

Get a FREE Issue. Yes! I want to try YES! Magazine

Nonprofit. Independent. Subscriber-supported. DONATE. How you can support our work.

YES! by Email
Join over 78,000 others already signed up for FREE YES! news.
[SAMPLE]

The YES! ChicoBag(R). Full-size tote that fits in your pocket!

 

Dealing With U.S. Deficit: Outdoor Playtime For Kids

New Yorkers throw the "Ultimate Block Party" to reclaim play.
Document Actions

Kid with drum photo by Kum Kit Tan

Nearly 50,000 parents and children gathered in New York’s Central Park for “The Ultimate Block Party,” organized to demonstrate the importance of play. Experts in child development worry that many American children don’t play enough.

Photo by Kum Kit Tan.

On a crisp, clear day last October, 50,000 parents and children gathered in New York’s Central Park to play. There was a drum circle and dancing, a giant game of “Simon Says,” and an adventure playground built by kids out of wood, cardboard, and fabric.

The Ultimate Block Party, organized to demonstrate the importance of play, drew five times as many participants as the organizers had expected.

With overbooked family schedules and restrictions on physical freedom, experts in child development worry that many American children are missing out on playtime. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, American children spend an average of 7.5 hours per day in front of a TV or computer screen.

“For a child to reach their full potential, unstructured outdoor play is essential,” says Fran Mainella, co-chair of the US Play Coalition at Clemson University. “Without the opportunity for play, decision-making, creativity, and imagination are restricted.”

The US Play Coalition, an organization of educators, is just one of many groups around the country who are working to correct America’s play deficit. Another is KaBOOM!, a nonprofit that helps parents set up neighborhood playgrounds. Their play campaign has established

1,900 playgrounds so far, often starting with community-building play day events.

Play for Tomorrow, a new coalition of educators, researchers, and businesses, organized The Ultimate Block Party in New York, and is working with other cities to host similar giant play day events throughout North America.


Alyssa JohnsonAlyssa B. Johnson wrote this article for Can Animals Save Us?, the Spring 2011 issue of YES! Magazine. Alyssa is an editorial intern at YES!

MORE SIGNS OF LIFE

LABOR JUSTICE

EDUCATION

HUMAN RIGHTS

ECONOMY

ENVIRONMENT

Email Signup
Can Animals Save Us?
Comment on this article

How to add a commentCommenting Policy

comments powered by Disqus


You won’t see any commercial ads in YES!, in print or on this website.
That means, we rely on support from our readers.

||   SUBSCRIBE    ||   GIVE A GIFT   ||   DONATE   ||
Independent. Nonprofit. Subscriber-supported.




Issue Footer

Personal tools