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June 25, 2016: Play
Today, our discussion was focused on the topic “PLAY”. We learned that play is important for children not only because it is enjoyable, but also because play fosters physical, social, and emotional development. Playing in groups can encourage socialization amongst children. Playing outside gives children the opportunity to breathe fresh air and get to know their local neighborhood. Overall, play stimulates imagination and creativity.
This time around, the parents led the conversations. We split off into smaller groups, circles led by a few mothers. In each group, participants shared their definition of “PLAY” and their own experiences relating to the word. Some of the young children explained to the group that they spend countless hours playing, whether it be soccer and football with older siblings or card and board games with their parents. It is especially difficult for families living in East Harlem to find space and time to play with their children. Many families have parents who work long, hard hours and return home to sleep. Children are usually discouraged from playing or making loud noises during this time. Also, the tight quarters of East Harlem apartments limit the amount of space children have to play in. Additionally, outside areas such as parks and the streets can be commonly perceived as too dangerous for children to roam around in and can contain actual dangers.
Following the group discussion, Cappy explained to us that there are various forms of “PLAY”. Activities and games can be structured or unstructured and active or passive. Although active play is more conducive to the individual’s well-being than passive, “play is not a waste of time”. It is an essential part of growing up.
To give the participants an opportunity for play, we walked from the playground to Concrete Safari’s annual Jungle Gym obstacle course and active living fair. There were many different types of play available for children and families to enjoy. Many of our participants competed in the obstacle course and played in the bouncy house. There were also informational booths on everything from pesto cooking lessons to information on the many health initiatives serving East Harlem. Overall, it was a fun day of active and healthy “PLAY”.
Date: June 25, 2016
Time: about 4 hours
Calories: 600 kcal**
Co-leaders: Cappy Collins, Mario Lavelanet, Deysi Martínez, Elsa Parra, Rachael, Maria Reyes, JiaMei Huang, Lauren Lee, Celeste Matsui, Akeem Williams
“Walking, under 2.0 mph, very slow,” 155lbs = 140 kcal/hr