May 20, 2020
Healthi Kids partnered with The City’s Department of Recreation & Youth Services (DRYS) to promote the power of play. On Monday, May 4, team members from Healthi Kids and DRYS met at the Rochester Community Sports Complex Stadium and assembled 900 free play kits that kids can use at home. The kits were distributed at the nine R-Centers that are currently serving as meal distribution sites.
Research has shown that play is vital to the physical, social and emotional development of children. Play is a proven stress reliever and increases happiness. It also contributes to healthy brain development, creativity, strong muscles, and the ability to solve problems and resolve conflicts.
Recent stay-at-home orders and the closures of schools, R-Centers and playgrounds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a toll on the mental, physical and emotional well-being of children and parents. The play kits include bubbles, kites, jump ropes and other physical and imaginative play items. The goal is to provide opportunities for youth and their caregivers to cope with social distancing requirements and spend recreational time together at home.
Healthi Kids also launched the #playrocsathome social media campaign that challenges families to post a picture or video of how they play at home. The goal is to encourage at-home play and for families to share ideas with each other on ways to make play part of their daily routine.
“Even though Healthi Kids had to cancel this year’s PlayROCs Your Neighborhood event, we wanted to remind people about the importance of play during this time.. We also want to keep the momentum that the PlayROCs community created moving forward,” said Erick Stephens, Parent Engagement Specialist. “Challenging families to share on social media how they play at home promotes the power of play and helps us all continue to connect as a community during these uncertain times.”