There’s an old saying that goes like this: “a family that plays together, stays together.” When it comes to physical fitness, there was never more of a true statement. The best way to help children to develop life-long fitness routines is to lead by example. And Philadelphia is a wonderful place to do it.
Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and other providers maintain playgrounds in every pocket of the city; check out Kaboom’s Map of Play to search for one near you. For photos and user reviews, one in-depth source is the blog Zora Plays, which chronicles a father and daughter’s exploration of over 160 local play spaces.
While many playgrounds are designed to serve their immediate neighborhoods, Smith Memorial Playground offers a free, expansive and imaginative place for young children from all parts of the city. For play equipment the whole family can use, Parks and Recreation recently installed a four-piece outdoor fitness trail along Martin Luther King Drive between Montgomery Drive and the Falls Bridge.
City-wide play providers include:
Philly Play, which was started by Councilman Bobby Henon (6th District) in 2013 to get kids engaged in active play. Through play-themed events and education, Councilman Henon was able to promote healthy play and active behaviors to hundreds of families in Northeast Philadelphia. In 2014, Philadelphia City Council expanded the program to provide access to free, healthy, active play activities to families across the City.
Philly Play offers children structured opportunities to learn about and engage in active play and nutrition at 10 recreation centers across Philadelphia, one in each Council District for six weeks over the summer.
For more information go to: http://www.phillyplay.org/
Pop-up Play, which engages young people in creating and leading play experiences for other children and adults.
The importance of play in children’s lives is a hot conversation topic among Philadelphia agencies and nonprofits these days. One relevant outgrowth of these conversations has been the Art of Active Play initiative; read more about the project and its grounding in health and physical activity here.